Quarterback Eli Soehren of Oxford Hills is expected to get the vast majority of snaps for the East squad on Saturday in the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic at Lewiston High. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

DOVER-FOXCROFT — If you’re going to play quarterback in the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic football all-star game, you better bring your mental A-game to training camp.

Three practices a day. Just a week to get ready for the game. New plays, new terminology and new teammates. It can be a lot to absorb.

It’s also what makes it fun. A full, immersive week of football, culminating in an all-star game for the worthy cause of raising money for Shriners’ hospitals across the country. The Lobster Bowl Classic will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday at Lewiston High.

“I’ve got to learn all the plays. Definitely new plays. Definitely new concepts,” said East quarterback and 2023 Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Eli Soehren of Class A champion Oxford Hills.

But, wait. Isn’t Soehren’s dad Mark Soehren, the head coach of the East? Isn’t this the Oxford Hills offense?

Nope. Cony High Coach B.L. Lippert is the East’s offensive coordinator, so it’s Cony’s offense that the Colby College-bound Eli Soehren will be operating.


“We do have some run plays (from Oxford Hills), but it’s completely different call-wise. We’ve got a lot of Cony stuff. It’s been great. It’s fun learning new concepts with him and new plays,” Eli Soehren said.

Soehren is expected to get the majority of snaps for the East. He is the only player listed as a quarterback. Cony’s Dom Napolitano, who will primarily play wide receiver, is the East’s No. 2 QB. At Cony, Napolitano played both positions.

Over on the West side, South Portland’s Jaelen Jackson and Scarborough’s DeAngelo “DJ” Alston will share signal-calling duties equally in an offense that’s been designed so both can shine.

“They’re just going to split the game, pretty much,” said West Coach Mike Hathaway. “We’re trying to get some things in there that they’re comfortable with, that they’ve done with their own teams.”

West quarterback DeAngelo “DJ” Alston looks for an open receiver during a Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic football practice Tuesday at Foxcroft Academy. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Alston is a pocket passer who hopes to play in college. He is going to attend Palmetto Prep Academy in Columbia, South Carolina, this fall. Palmetto is a one-semester post-graduate school formed in 2011 that is designed to have players improve their game, grades and test scores to make them college ready.

When Alston is in the game, expect the West to air it out.


“He’s a good player that’s maybe gone a hair unnoticed,” Hathaway said of Alston. “He can sling it and it’s effortless.”

Jackson was a three-sport standout at South Portland. He ran for over 1,000 yards and passed for another 1,000-plus, leading the Red Riots to the Class B South final. He also was the point guard and leading scorer as the Red Riots repeated as Class AA basketball champions, then picked up baseball for the first time since Little League and started in center field for the Class A champions.

Jackson will play basketball at Bates College, but the son of former Deering High football coach Jason Jackson has had the Lobster Bowl on his radar for a long time.

Portland High’s Andrew Brewer chases South Portland’s Jaelen Jackson during the 2021 edition of the Battle of the Bridge. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“My dad coached this game at one point, and obviously I grew up hearing about it, being a football family,” Jackson said. “So this was on my checklist that I wanted to play in this game. Unlike DJ, I’m not going to play football in college, so it’s definitely cool to get that last hurrah in.”

Jackson is a legitimate running threat who will be surrounded by other big-play threats, such as slot backs Nick Laughlin (Cape Elizabeth), Dayton Calder (Leavitt) and Kennedy Charles (Portland) and running back Hayden Whitney (Thornton Academy).

“The quickness that we’ve been able to figure out the offense has been impressive,” Jackson said. “Hathaway’s system is really good, and obviously we have smart football players. These guys are here for a reason. I think we’ll be looking pretty good by the time we play.”

Soehren said “it’s going to be awesome throwing,” to the all stars on the East squad. After saying “everyone’s great,” Soehren did single out Caden Crocker of Foxcroft Academy, the Class D player of the year.

“I had heard of Caden Crocker but never really watched his stuff, and he’s been a star player for me to throw to this week, and I’m looking forward to throwing to him in the game.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.