West team defensive and offensive linemen square off during a Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic football practice Tuesday at Foxcroft Academy. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

DOVER-FOXCROFT — When selecting any all-star team, roster balance can be a challenge.

For the annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic high school football game, scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at Lewiston High, it can be even more difficult. The intent is to have new graduates from each of Maine’s football schools represented, including the large eight-man contingent. But often that means a glut of running back-linebackers, or too many quarterbacks.

“You try to prioritize,” said East Coach Mark Soehren of Class A champion Oxford Hills, adding his priority was linemen and defensive backs.

Mike Hathaway of Class C champ Leavitt Area, in his third stint as Lobster Bowl head coach, said the coaches are a bit like a general manger, trying to piece together a quality roster.

“Then when we got here, after you actually see them live on the field, it’s a little different. Like, we saw a few guys and were, ‘we’re going to move this position.’ It’s kind of a neat part of it,” Hathaway said. “You’ve got a roster with a bunch of great kids and you get to move them around to see where they fit best.”

Both teams have quality and size among their lineman. The East squad includes University of Maine recruit Jaykob Dow of Hermon and Gaziano Defensive Lineman Award winner Zach Louvat of Oxford Hills.

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For the West, Thornton Academy center Brent Paulin, Gaziano Offensive Award winner Beau Mayo of Leavitt at guard, York’s Matt Charpentier and 330-pound Owen Smith of Lisbon, head a very solid group. Hathaway said he’s also been impressed with pulling guard Hayden Battaglia of Gorham.

“We’re looking good. Just taking it one practice at a time,” Paulin said. “If our offensive line isn’t working as a team, then no one on the team is going to do good. You know, the running backs, the wide receivers, get all the glory but it’s us whose putting in the dirty work. If we’re not working as a team, we’re not going to get anywhere.”

Brent Paulin, left, of Thornton Academy will be the West’s starting center and Matt Charpentier of York could see time at all three line spots for the West. Steve Craig photo

There are always roster changes after initial selections. This year there were fewer changes, organizers said, and the additions were welcomed.

“You wish no on ever drops out but we had four that dropped out,” Soehren said. “We had a list of kids we wanted in case, just to be prepared, and we got the kids we wanted.”

For the East, Soehren was able to add Windham’s Max Arbour and Alex Yeaton to bolster the secondary, Skowhegan lineman Collin LePage who now joins his twin brother Kyle LePage (6-4, 225), and Lewiston linebacker Farid Muhammad-Aceto.

Hathaway said the addition of Scarborough’s Charlie Murray and Josh Lamour will help the West on defense. Murray, listed as a receiver, has shown he can be a playmaking cornerback and Lamour is a “great pass rusher,” Hathaway said.

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THE REASON FOR THE GAME: The Lobster Bowl celebrates the achievement of top high senior football players in the state, and the game of football in general. But its purpose is to raise funds and awareness for the Shrine Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 non-profit hospitals across the country. The players and cheerleaders who participate are expected to raise money for the Shrine Hospitals. Since 1990, the Lobster Bowl has generated nearly $830,000 in donations.

This year’s top two fundraisers among the players in Saturday’s game are Jordan Craft of Old Town and Matt Charpentier of York. Craft raised $10,200 through July 9, while Charpentier generated $9,000. Craft was Old Town’s quarterback and a pitcher on the Coyotes’ Class B champion baseball team.

“Honestly it was just me and family working together to raise as much money as we could for the cause,” Craft said. “My parents know a lot of people. We were able to really support the game and support the kids who can’t be out here playing with us.”

Charpentier, who will play football and compete in field events at Bates College, was the Class B champion in the shot put and discus.

“Raising $9,000 for this organization has just been amazing,” Charpentier said. “I’m just really happy to have raised as much money as I could because that’s what’s most important. The football game is just a bonus.”

West team quarterback Jaelen Jackson of South Portland fields a question during the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic media day on Tuesday at Foxcroft Academy. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

TRIVIA QUESTION: Who scored the first touchdown in Lobster Bowl history? (Answer below.)

FATHERS AND SONS: Three of the Lobster Bowl coaches have sons playing the game. On the East, head coach Mark Soehren will be relying on his son Eli Soehren at quarterback. West head coach Mike Hathaway is joined by son Sawyer Hathaway, a rangy 6-3, 170-pound wide receiver. Also on the West staff is newly named Deering football coach Brendan Scully, the former Massabesic athletic director. Scully’s son Collin Scully will be playing defensive back for the West.

NOTES: Seventeen of the 19 seniors on the 2022 Varsity Maine All-State Football team are playing in this year’s Lobster Bowl. … Thornton’s Paulin is a Lobster Bowl legacy player. His father, Mark Paulin, played in the 1995 Lobster Bowl as the first of nine extended family members to be selected for the game. The first seven, including Mark Paulin and most recently Brent’s cousins Curtis and Caleb Gauvin represented Mountain Valley. Brent’s older brother Cole Paulin (Thornton) was tabbed to play in the 2020 game that was canceled. “And my grandmother (Martha Paulin) was treated at a Shriners’ hospital,” Paulin said.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Steve Knight of Marshwood, the 1989 Fitzpatrick Trophy winner, scored the first Lobster Bowl touchdown in 1990 on an 8-yard run as the West beat the East, 24-12, at Thornton Academy’s Hill Stadium. The West would win the first nine games. The all-time series is 21-10 in favor of the West, which is on a three-game win streak.


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