HEBRON — Bayley Beaulieu was nervous at first. And he probably wasn’t the only one.

After spending the last four years literally butting heads with them, suddenly he found himself lining up side-by-side with some of his former rivals. These were people he’d spent many hot September afternoons and frigid October nights trying to put on their backside.

Now, here the Oak Hill lineman was, back in the trenches with them. Except this time, they were lined up shoulder-to-shoulder in the sultry July air at Hebron Academy.

And getting along on the field only fueled part of his anxiety. Beaulieu was going to have to spend the week living with many of his former adversaries as members of the West squad preparing for the 25th Annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl.

It didn’t take long for his apprehension to subside.

“I thought they’d all be the complete opposite of me, but we’re all pretty close now, actually,” said Beaulieu, who was a captain on Oak Hill’s Class D state championship team.


Just two days into training camp, Beaulieu had found numerous kindred spirits on the West squad.

“The biggest common denominator is we all love football. We’re all here for a reason, for the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl and the hospitals. We all raised money to support the children. We all just want to play. And to be able to win, we all need to work together,” Beaulieu said.

No one is happier to hear that than Greely head coach David Higgins, whose job it is to get all of the West linemen on the same page in six days.

Higgins is happy, but not surprised.

“They help each other out. They’re encouraging. It makes it really easy,” Higgins said. “I have an easier time here getting these guys to gel than I do back home.”

Leavitt tackle Matt Powell said it’s been pretty easy for the players, too.


“Feels like we’ve been working together for the year almost,” he said.

Powell and his teammate from the 2013 Class C champion Hornets, Levi Morin, are quick to admit they have an advantage over their new teammates because the West is running Leavitt’s spread offense. Leavitt head coach Mike Hathaway is the offensive coordinator.

“I think the other guys are picking up on it pretty quick,” said the Bates-bound Morin, who is playing center. “I know they’re enjoying it. And every day we keep trying to get better.”

That’s another reason getting a group of large, self-motivated young men, separated by 100 miles in the case of Mountain Valley’s Anthony Boucher and Sanford’s Jed Scott, to gel so quickly isn’t that difficult.

“They’ve got all of these guys that they look across the line from and they know that they’ve got this tremendous skill set. They know that the other people are going to do their job,” Higgins said. “They know what their job is and they go out and do it. They’re a hard-working bunch of kids. They realize these guys are all all-stars, so you have got to do these little things every single play.”

That can be a daunting task for someone like Spruce Mountain’s Tristan Castonguay. As is often the case in the Lobster Bowl, Castonguay has to learn a new position this week, moving from guard to tackle. That means leaning on his teammates, including his Campbell Conference arch-rivals, to teach him the little things.


“I’ve got mentors helping me out, showing me the ropes with tricks and things that will help,” Castonguay said. “It’s the same skills in my head, just a different area.”

The area the West line is focused on is the East defensive line. In a game that has become increasingly pass-oriented in recent years, protecting quarterbacks Duncan Preston of South Portland and Nick Emmons of Kennebunk from the East’s pass rush will be paramount.

If that results in one of those QB’s connecting with Lisbon’s Quincy Thompson, Telstar’s Austin Ryerson or Leavitt’s Nate Coombs for a touchdown, or if running backs Nicco DeLorenzo of Kennebunk or Andrew Libby of Thornton Academy break off a long run, the offensive line won’t hear their names called over the Waterhouse Field speakers.

That’s not where the satisfaction comes from, the linemen said. It comes from a job well done.

“It’s fun doing that hard work to make our backs look good,” Powell said. “We take a lot of pride in what we do on the line. I mean, when we score a touchdown, we know they couldn’t have done it without us.”

25th Annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic
Waterhouse Field, Biddeford

Gates open: 3 p.m.
Kickoff: 6 p.m.
Tickets: $8 general admission, $10 reserved. Available at main entrance ticket booth on game day or online at http://www.korashriners.org/tickets/tickets. Net proceeds benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.

The game will be streamed live on wcsh6.com or wlbz2.com and will also be shown on Time Warner Cable.

Lobster Bowl Alumni:

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Lobster Bowl, all former players, cheerleaders and coaches who have played in the game are invited to attend a reception to be held at Waterhouse Field from 3 p.m. to game time.

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