DOVER-FOXCROFT — Although Danny White has been around the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl for years, he’s noticed something different this time.

Over the past decade or so, practices for the Lobster Bowl have been held at Foxcroft Academy, where White is the head football coach. During those sessions, he said, the East and West sides haven’t necessarily interacted with one another — something that’s changed in 2022.

“More than ever, I think the two sides have been mingling more than I’ve seen,” White said. “I think a lot of that comes from COVID and the time they spent at home. They know not to take things for granted, and they’ve really developed some relationships through social media.”

The game is scheduled to be played Saturday at 4 p.m. at Lewiston High School. It’s the second straight year that Lewiston will host the competition after being home to the modified seven-on-seven tournament last year.

A different sort of bond was certainly evident Tuesday as East and West players congregated in the Foxcroft Academy gym for this year’s media day session. The craziness of the past few years has made football players across the state closer, a phenomenon that stands to benefit them as the charity all-star game returns to its traditional format.

The current crop of Lobster Bowl players haven’t experienced a normal school year since they were freshmen. The coronavirus pandemic resulted in school closures at the end of their sophomore years, wiped out their junior football seasons and impacted their senior seasons with some cancellations to key games.


It’s a high school experience that none of the players in this year’s game would have wished on their adversaries. Yet, those circumstances have sadly been a reality for them for the past two and a half years, forcing athletes to dig deeper for ways of persevering. 

“I just knew I had to put in more work than ever in my own workouts, and I still am, but we’ve also been reaching out to each other, for sure,” said Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Logan Baird. “It’s been tough for all of us, and we want to make sure we’re ready for what’s next.”

The Lobster Bowl, of course, was canceled outright in 2020 as the state’s COVID-19 community sports guidelines rendered any sort of gathering for the game impossible. It was nearly axed again a year ago before ultimately being morphed into an eight-team, seven-on-seven tournament.

This year’s game marks the first time since 2019 that the competition will feature a traditional game of tackle football. 

“We know it’s the first one in a while, and that’s going to be a thing for people when it comes around on Saturday,” said Winslow’s Evan Bourget. “I think that’s brought us all together really well. We’ve all gotten close already, and it’s only Day 2 or Day 3.”

Members of the East team await the start of the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic media day Tuesday at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

The Lobster Bowl, of course, brings in players from all over the state. From the big-school giants such as Thornton Academy, Bonny Eagle and Scarborough to Maranacook, Waterville and Stearns in the eight-man ranks, teams of all sizes and areas were represented.


In the past, Lobster Bowl practices and media day would mark the first time players from different corners of the states would ever get to meet one another. Now, through social media, new football camps and Maine high school football’s changing class structures, players have had more opportunities than ever to meet one another.

“A lot of us came in here knowing each other already,” said Waterville’s Liam Von Oesen. “It’s definitely fun being here and getting the chance to bond with all of them. It’s a great group of guys, and for both teams, we’re excited to get out there and play together.”

The cause and the opportunity to don a school’s helmet one last time already had players looking forward to that opportunity. The magnitude of the competition after two years without a head-to-head clash has only made it bigger.

“After two years, I know there’s going to be a huge crowd for this one,” said Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale’s Jacob Umberhind. “Everybody’s going to want to come and watch the game. It’s a big deal, and I’m ecstatic.”

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