Twin brothers Mike, left, and Matt Wosniac will play side-by-side at linebacker Saturday for the East squad in the 30th Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic. The two played for Cony High.  David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

DOVER-FOXCROFT — Mike Wozniak was always ready to support his twin brother, Matt, at the 30th Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic. Until this week, he thought that would mean cheering from the grandstand.

Matt Wozniak, a Varsity Maine All-State selection, was an initial choice for the East team. When he and his parents arrived at the Foxcroft Academy training camp Sunday morning, they were told Mike also could play because other players had made last-minute decisions to not attend.

“My brother called me to let me know and I thought he was joking with me at first,” Mike Wozniak said Tuesday at the media day promoting the all-star football game. “Then my mom called and she was freaking out and I was just in shock. I didn’t really know what to think.”

The Lobster Bowl features recently graduated high school seniors from across the state. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at Thornton Academy in Saco.

At Cony High, Mike Wozniak played right outside linebacker. Matt was the left outside linebacker. In the Lobster Bowl, teams must play a standard 52 defense, meaning a five-man defensive front with two inside linebackers. The Wozniaks are now side-by-side in the middle of the defense.

“The Wozniak twins from Cony, that’s just a wonderful story,” said East Coach Dan O’Connell of John Bapst. “You look over at the team (defense) and they’re playing middle linebacker together. They’ve both been great. Both of them will definitely make a difference.”

Roster changes are not unusual for the Lobster Bowl, but organizers said this year it was more pronounced. Five players from the East and six from the West who were on the original roster decided not to play for a “variety of reasons,” according to BJ Robbins, the game’s athletic director. Several changes were made after the teams reported to camp Sunday morning.

Mike Wozniak, fullback Charlie Hughes of Ellsworth, and defensive back Caleb Weeks of Dexter were added to the East roster.

The West added Nate Malinowski of Gardiner, Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist Alex Gorham of Dirigo and Varsity Maine All-State lineman Drew Gregor of Class B champion Marshwood.

Gorham, an inside linebacker, is the only player on either roster from the now defunct developmental Class E division.

“The whole season I felt like we got a lot of recognition, what with the Fitzy and a few other awards I won, but, yeah, at first it was a bit upsetting to be left off,” said Gorham, who will play at Plymouth State College. “But I’m happy they called me.”

Gregor said he wasn’t upset about being passed over. He felt teammates quarterback Tommy Springer and offensive lineman Adam Doyon were worthy choices.

“I got the call Sunday morning and then once I got here they told me I was supposed to be here the whole time. That my name got mixed up or something,” said Gregor, who will play this fall at Bridgton Academy. “But I’m here now and I’m happy to be here. I honestly think I could have been a little more prepared had I known about it, but I’m holding up.”

TYLER BRIDGE AND Anthony Bracamonte will be in the West backfield together, according to Coach Bill County. Bridge won the Fitzpatrick Trophy after rushing for 2,390 yards and 43 touchdowns for unbeaten Class D champ Wells. Bracamonte was the Gatorade Maine Player of the Year with 2,137 all-purpose yards and 27 touchdowns for unbeaten Class A champ Thornton Academy. The 5-foot-7, 150-pound Bracamonte, who will play at Endicott College, will be lined up in the slot in a spread offense where he can be a dual running-receiving threat. Bridge (6-3, 210), who will be playing for Bates, will be the primary tailback.

“(Bracamonte has) tremendous hands and his speed is crazy,” County said. “If he was 6-foot-2 he’d be a (Division I) scholarship kid. And Tyler, for a kid that size to move that quick, it’s just fascinating to watch. When he runs by you, you feel the air getting sucked by you.”

THE SIZE ADVANTAGE goes to the East, which could start an offensive line that averages 298 pounds. O’Connell, who has coached in 12 straight Lobster Bowls, including as a head coach in 2008, said that wasn’t intentional but is appreciated.

“We try to take the best kids on our list and to take kids first and foremost that are willing to raise money for a great cause,” O’Connell said. “So to get the jumbo offensive line we have this year, as a career offensive lineman myself and O-line coach, you get excited.”

The biggest of the big is Gilbert Isaacs, a 6-foot-7, 355-pounder from MDI.

“He’s just a mountain of a man. He’s very athletic,” O’Connell said.

The East has won four of the last six meetings, including a 40-14 victory last year. The West leads the series, 19-10.

The four players from Portland high schools playing for the East in the 30th Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic are, from left, Vincent Morrone, Cheverus; Zack Elowitch, Portland; Koa Farnsworth, Portland; and Teigan Lindstedt, Cheverus. Steve Craig/Staff Writer

THE FOUR PLAYERS from Portland schools on the East squad each said helping the Shrine Hospital cause was a primary motivation for participating. Tight end Vincent Morrone of North Yarmouth and linebacker Teigan Lindstedt of Gray are representing Cheverus. Running back Zack Elowitch and offensive guard Koa Farnsworth are from Portland. Players are expected to raise money and all proceeds benefit the 22 Shrine Hospitals in North America. In the past 22 years, since the Kora Shrine took over organization duties, more than $750,000 has been raised by Lobster Bowl participants.

“I’m here for the cause,” Lindstedt said. “We had the ceremony and we had this powerful speaker come in who was a direct beneficiary of what the Shriners do and that gives you inspiration to play for them and for people who can’t play themselves.”

“I thought it was a great opportunity to help out and just raise some money for the (Shrine) hospitals,” said Farnsworth.

This year’s leading fundraiser is Jason Guinard, a defensive back from Massabesic. As of Tuesday, Guinard had raised over $6,000.


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