Seventy-seven schools played varsity football in Maine this past school year, putting invitations to Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic XXVI at a premium.

And Tervo played at Oak Hill, a school that won consecutive Class D football championships with Kyle Flaherty and Alex Mace deservedly earning most of the headlines.

With those two locked into the charity gridiron game, Tervo had an inkling that he might be cast in the role of an alternate or honorable mention.

“It was a little bit of a surprise, especially since we already had two players coming here,” Tervo said. “My coach (Stacen Doucette) told me if I was to get on the team it would be nearly impossible.”

The impossible dream comes true Saturday at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford, when Tervo will take the field not only beside Mace and Flaherty but also with Oak Hill kicker Adam Merrill for the West squad.

Kickoff is 6 p.m.

“Usually you don’t get three (players selected) and we got four this year, so we’re pretty pumped about that,” Tervo said.

His was not an oh-by-the-way contribution for the Raiders. Tervo made substantial big plays on both sides of the line of scrimmage during each run at a Gold Ball.

This past fall, Tervo’s heady tip of the ball to his brother, Brendon, for a fourth-quarter fumble recovery stopped a Lisbon drive and sealed Oak Hill’s 7-6 victory in a muddy Western Maine title game.

One week later, his 55-yard touchdown catch from Dalton Therrien and a Merrill extra point gave Oak Hill the lead for good in its 41-21 win over MCI.

Tervo also had multiple receptions from Parker Asselin when Oak Hill beat Bucksport, 42-35, in the 2013 state final.

Still, the call to join the other spotlight event on the Maine high school football calendar sent him for a loop.

“Never,” Tervo said when asked if he expected the selection. “I’ve been dreaming about coming here forever to the Lobster Bowl and being able to play with my buddies, and for it to actually be happening is unreal.”

After a lifetime of playing offense and defense due to the limited numbers on their school teams, Lobster Bowl athletes receive more specialized assignments.

The 6-foot, 165-pound Tervo will play cornerback. It’s a thankless job in an all-star game, particularly in what is a pass-happy era. Only one team has been held to single-digit points in the Lobster Bowl since 2003.

“It’s mostly offense,” he acknowledged.

Tervo didn’t get here by shying away from competition, however, and there is plenty of it, even within his own camp.

Joining him in the West secondary are Zach Dubiel of Bonny Eagle, Peter Theriault and Deonte Ring of Spruce Mountain, Jordan Pidgeon of York, Matt Stearns of South Portland, Zach Mills of Gorham, Bryan Roberts of Old Orchard Beach, Preston Spear of Oceanside and Josh McDougal of Morse.

“It’s insane,” Tervo said. “The amount of talent here is unreal. There’s so many good players. Just to see them all here in one place is awesome.”

After two years of grappling with the likes of Lisbon, Dirigo, Winthrop/Monmouth, Maranacook and OOB in the brutally tough and balanced Campbell Conference, Tervo is enjoying the chance to be on the same side as those nemeses, for once.

“Joe Philbrick, we’ve always been rivals with Lisbon, and having him here is really cool,” Tervo said. “He’s one of my good friends here actually.”

Tervo spent the spring as a standout on Oak Hill’s lacrosse team, which reached the regional playoffs.

The physical challenge and the competition were fun, he said, but he missed the physical demands of football that the fraternity of those who play the game so eagerly embrace.

“It’s pretty nuts,” Tervo said. “It’s rough getting back into it, but once you do, I’m glad to be playing this week.”

Whether he makes a tackle or two or intercepts a pass remains to be seen, but Tervo is certain to pick off memories Saturday that endure for a lifetime.

The thought of helping children who require the services of Shrine hospitals is an added benefit.

“It’s definitely for a good cause,” he said. “I’m honored to be playing for all the kids.”

And proud to represent a school with no shortage of star power.

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