The Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic is the place where children in critical need get a new lease on life and where the most bitter rivalries go to die.

If you were a fellow guest in the air-conditioned dormitories at Foxcroft Academy this week, you could set your watch to it. In a matter of minutes, the recent graduates who thought they liked one another the least gravitate to each other the quickest.

“Some of the closest guys I’m with this week are from Leavitt,” Peter Theriault of Spruce Mountain and the West squad. “It’s kind of weird. I’m not going to tell anyone back home.”

Leavitt ended Spruce Mountain’s 2013 season in the Class C West championship game and also stopped the Phoenix’s undefeated streak at seven in the 2014 regular-season finale.

Now, for six key components of the relatively young but contentious Route 4 rivalry, their last memory of the gridiron is being teammates and becoming fast friends.

Deonte Ring joins Peter Theriault in the West secondary, while Matt Vigue rounds out the Spruce trio at slot receiver. Their names will be indelibly linked in Livermore Falls and Jay for the rest of their lives, but now, at least for a day, you can associate them with Leavitt tight end Mitchel Davis, nose tackle and offensive lineman Will Parkin and split end Gabe Seeley.

All of them have swapped their shades of green for a blue jersey with ‘Shrine’ emblazoned across the front for the 26th annual charity game, which kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday on Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field.

“Will, Gabe and I have been hanging out with Deonte and Matt all week,” Davis said. “We’re rivals. We’ll go at it during the game, but once we get here, we’re the same type of kids. Them and Frosty (Tyler Frost) from Dirigo. We’re together all the time.”

Leavitt’s fingerprints are all over the game. Mike Hathaway is head coach for the West, with Hornets’ assistants Dave Bochtler, Mark Bonnevie, Doug Conn and Kolin Gauthier comprising half the coaching staff.

Combine that with one look at the rosters, which have a glut of slot receivers and barely a mention of fullbacks, and it’s a safe bet that the ball will be upstairs early and often.

Zach Dubiel of Bonny Eagle and Noah Nelson of Falmouth will quarterback the West. Joining Vigue, Davis and Seeley as prime targets are Alex Mace of Oak Hill and Caleb Gauvin of Mountain Valley.

“We should put the ball in the air a little bit,” Davis said. “On offense, since I play tight end, I know all the (Leavitt) passing schemes and all the blocking schemes. If Hathaway’s off doing something else I can help everybody. It’s good.”

The West shouldn’t have any problem running, either. Kyle Flaherty of two-time Class D champion Oak Hill, Fitzpatrick Trophy winner Brett Gerry of Marshwood and Fitzy finalist Chris Carney of Wells are the backs.

Leavitt and Spruce Mountain join Windham, MCI, Bonny Eagle, Thornton as the only schools with three representatives in the game. Oak Hill has four, with defensive back Kyle Tervo and receiver/kicker Adam Merrill joining Flaherty and Mace.

“It’s pretty awesome to have three of us out here playing,” Ring said. “I’m honored. It’s nice to be recognized for football and hard work, and then it’s nice to play and raise money.”

All proceeds benefit the 22 Shrine hospitals for children in North America. Players were expected to sell tickets and solicit donations in the four months leading up to the game.

“It’s an honor being able to help out all the kids who need help, and being able to play football one more time,” Vigue said. “It’s pretty sweet.”

Saturday will be the final football game for the Spruce Mountain standouts.

Vigue received an academic scholarship to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., where he will major in homeland security. Theriault and Ring plan to play basketball at Southern Maine Community College while studying criminal justice and business, respectively.

Davis will cross the state line and play football while studying sports management at Plymouth State. The star-studded triple practice sessions of Lobster Bowl week have been solid preparation.

“Everybody’s unreal,” he said. “Everybody’s the best player on their team. Everybody’s huge, like brick walls.”

Other locals on the West roster are Frost, a linebacker; defensive tackles Tony Benedict of Poland, Ryan Vail of Telstar and Jeremy Mihilakis of Winthrop; and fullback/linebacker Joe Philbrick of Lisbon.

Quintarian Brown and Ace Curry of Lewiston, Hunter Martin of Edward Little, Davis Turner of Oxford Hills and J.T. Williams of Mt. Blue will suit up for the East, which has won six of the past nine lobster Bowls to narrow the West’s all-time led in the series to 17-8.

East players to watch include running backs Joe Fitzpatrick of Cheverus and Dylan Hapworth of Winslow, quarterback Mitchell Caron and receiver Tayler Carrier of Cony, defensive end Zack Roy of Windham and linebacker Peter Boyer of Foxcroft.

Team leaders have taken extra time this year to emphasize the deeper meaning of the game.

“We’ll get after it in practice, and then when things get a little too far, Coach will reel us in and remind us that it’s more than that,” Davis said. “We don’t want it to be like last year, when it got a little chippy. They’re telling us keep it clean and that the big meaning of the game is for the kids.”

Check those rivalries at the door, in other words.

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Lobster Bowl rosters

EAST

1 Quintarian Brown, SE, Lewiston

3 Cody Soucier, slot, Madison

4 J.T. Williams, LB, Mt. Blue

5 Jake Drew, DB, Houlton

6 Branden Upshaw, S, Old Town

7 Austin Tolman, SE, MCI

8 Matt Stewart, QB, Bucksport

9 Jake Dexter, S, Messalonskee

10 Cody Martin, DB, Lawrence

11 Jackson Leonard, DB, John Bapst

12 Austin Pagnozzi, DB, Brewer

13 Colton Spear, S, Medomak Valley

14 Bobby Chenard, QB, Winslow

15 Mitchell Caron, QB, Cony

21 Hunter Martin, SE, Edward Little

22 Peter Boyer, LB, Foxcroft

23 Nick Bennett, TE, Hermon

24 Noah Kershner, LB, Nokomis

26 Matt Roy, DE, Windham

27 Joe Fitzpatrick, RB, Cheverus

28 Evan McAuliffe, LB, Bangor

29 Tanner Laberge, S, Windham

32 Zack Davis, DE, Windham

34 Steven Davis, slot, Belfast

35 Tayler Carrier, slot, Cony

37 Dylan Hapworth, RB, Winslow

41 Kaleb Brown, LB, Skowhegan

42 Ace Curry, SE, Lewiston

43 Davis Turner, LB, Oxford Hills

44 Marc Morneault, DB, Stearns

51 Dakota Cates-Wright, OL, Washington

55 Dan O’Brion, OL, Cheverus

59 Corey Huerfano, OL, Waterville

61 Nick Deckert, OL, MCI

66 Dominic Dimillo, OL, Portland

70 Jake Doyon, OL, Messalonskee

71 Ben Cox, OL, Waterville

72 Jake Nichols, OL, Nokomis

75 Bryan Clement, DT, Camden Hills

82 Jake Truman, DE, Gardiner

87 Alex Bandouveres, TE, Brunswick

91 Nick Haggan, DT, Hampden

93 Eric Hathaway, DT, MCI

94 Seamus McKaig, DT, Orono

96 Clay Carroll, DE, Foxcroft

97 Santos Henggeler, DT. MDI

98 Gus Benson, LB, Skowhegan

99 Jeremiah Israel-Copeland, DT, Portland

Head coach: Chris Bartlett, Belfast

Assistant coaches: Matt O’Connell, Nokomis; Dan White, Foxcroft; Bill County, Lewiston; Dave Sterling, Edward Little; Dan O’Connell, John Bapst; Matt Perkins, Windham; Nick Arthers, Brewer

WEST

2 Mitchel Davis, TE, Leavitt

5 Kyle Tervo, DB, Oak Hill

6 Gabe Seeley, WR, Leavitt

7 Zach Dubiel, QB/DB, Bonny Eagle

9 Chris Carney, RB, Wells

11 Quinn Piland, WR, Lake Region

12 Peter Theriault, DB, Spruce Mountain

13 Hayden Owen, slot, South Portland

14 Adam Merrill, WR/K, Oak Hill

15 Capen Macomber, DE, Biddeford

17 Jordan Pidgeon, DB, York

18 Noah Nelson, QB, Falmouth

20 Matt Vigue, slot, Spruce Mountain

21 Maurice Johnson, slot, Westbrook

22 Alex Mace, slot, Oak Hill

23 Derek Breunig, WR, Westbrook

25 Matt Stearns, DB, South Portland

26 Deonte Ring, DB, Spruce Mountain

27 Zach Mills, DB, Gorham

29 Andrew Simons, DE, Scarborough

32 Bryan Roberts, DB, Old Orchard Beach

33 Preston Spear, DB, Oceanside

37 Josh McDougal, CB, Morse

40 Jimmy Remmes, DE/FB, Thornton

43 Brett Gerry, RB/LB, Marshwood

44 Kyle Flaherty, RB, Oak Hill

45 Tyler Frost, LB, Dirigo

51 Tony Benedict, DT, Poland

52 Nick Dalecki, OL, Marshwood

53 Luke Winslow, DT, Bonny Eagle

54 Michael Tran, OL, Mt. Ararat

55 Jake Boothby, C, Kennebunk

56 Ryan Pomeroy, DT, Greely

57 Will Parkin, NT/OL, Leavitt

65 Dakota Chapman, OL, Sanford

69 Jeremy Mihilakis, DT, Winthrop

72 Josh Murphy, C, Maranacook

75 Ryan Vail, DT, Telstar

77 D’Andre Morgan, OL/DT, Thornton

78 Ben Zuke, OL, Thornton

80 John Hamme, LB/DE, Noble

81 Brandon Ludwig, WR, Fryeburg

84 Caleb Gauvin, TE, Mountain Valley

88 Ben Malloy, WR, Bonny Eagle

Joe Philbrick, LB/FB, Lisbon

Head coach: Mike Hathaway, Leavitt

Assistant coaches: Dave Bochtler, Leavitt; Doug Conn, Leavitt; Mark Bonnevie, Leavitt; Kolin Gauthier, Leavitt; Stacen Doucette, Oak Hill; Geoff Wright, Oak Hill; Bryan Dionne, Boothbay; Mike Marston, Winslow

CHEERLEADERS

EAST

Bangor: Hannah Miller, Emily Reilly

Brewer: Breannah Geiser, Taylor Richardson

Brunswick: Molly Steinman

Edward Little: Caitlyn Lewis

Gardiner: Molly Dow

Hampden: Laura Doyon, Hannah Bailey

Lawrence: Paige Castonguay, Mikaela Wyman

Lewiston: Andrea Bonin, Erika Thibault

Madison: Toni Candelmo

MCI: Leeann Robertson

Mt. Blue: Ashley Bouchard, Emily Walsh

MDI: Ashley McEachern

Nokomis: MiKayla Pelkey

Oxford Hills: Libby Belanger, Tiffany Herrick, Amber Mann

Portland: Laura Nielsen

WEST

Biddeford: Audrey Desjardin, Hannah Morin-Roy, Jillian Vigneault

Bonny Eagle: Karly Cannell, Lauren Collins

Dirigo: Kayla Perry

Kennebunk: Kate Doody

Lisbon: Abby Curtis

Marshwood- Amanda Rovnak, Ryley Sullivan, Jayna Ledger

Massabesic: Allison Cahill

Mountain Valley: Leah Perry

Morse: Chloe Frye

Noble: Kimberly Donoghue, Taylor Dupont

Spruce Mountain: Kaylee Marraffa

Thornton: O’Malley Walsh

Coaches: Deb Loveless and Jessie Becher, Oxford Hills; Alicia Curtis, Lawrence; Andrea Fullerton, Waterville; Peggy Mowatt, Kennebunk; Brandon Ouellette, Portland; Alycia Laferte (trainer)


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