Among the chatter of various players and assistant coaches at practice for the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl this week, there’s still one voice that may still stick out this week for the former Oak Hill Raiders.

Dalton Therrien and teammate Connor Elwell are among the players on the West roster playing for their former Oak Hill coach Stacen Doucette. It makes for a nice last blast of football for the three that shared an abundance of memories at the high school level.

“Coach Doucette and I, we’ve had a great high school experience together,” said Therrien, who was part of three Class D state titles with the Raiders. “Going out one more time with him coaching me is really great because he’s a special coach.”

It will be Doucette’s seventh time as a coach in the Lobster Bowl but his first as the head coach. Having two stalwarts like Elwell and Therrien from his program makes it that much greater this week.

“Dalton and Connor, it’s been a very special four years with those guys,” Doucette said. “Both earned the right to be here. Both have worked hard at their fund raising. They’ve been pretty good teammates and have developed camaraderie with the guys. It’s been pretty special, and we’re having a great time.”

Doucette also has a familiar face on the coaching staff. Former Lisbon coach John Murphy joined the West squad this week and has been helping out. He was a former assistant to Dick Mynahan at Lisbon when Doucette was a player. 

“It’s been kind of special,” Doucette said. “He coached me at school, and when I got on staff at the school, he was there until 2005. That’s when he retired. He hasn’t coached since then, and I asked him to come out of retirement to help coach the team.”

The West roster has an abundance of local talent. In addition to the Oak Hill players, the team also includes Max Green (Leavitt), Henry Adams (Lisbon), Ben Ames (Winthrop/Monmouth), Levi Craig (Leavitt), Riley Robinson (Dirigo), Calvin Glover (Telstar), Andrew Darling (Spruce Mountain), Austin Chase (Gray-New Gloucester), Alex Thibault (Poland) and Alan Carrier (Mountain Valley).

“I hear kids say that there’s nothing like high school football,” Therrien said. “Hearing that from them kind of makes me excited that I have one more chance to practice with these guys and go out for one last game. Football is an emotional game. So it’s an emotional week.”

 The East squad includes local players like Jacob Spinhirn (Oxford Hills), Nat Pratt-Holt (Mt. Blue), Stefan Porter (Lewiston), and Dillon Hummes (Edward Little).

The West has an 18-7 record in the Lobster Bowl, including last year’s 45-21 win, but the East won the two previous years.

It’s been a long week of practice with anticipation of Saturday’s 4 p.m. game.

“Everybody is pumped,” Therrien said. “There’s not five minutes of practice where somebody is not yelling and screaming and full of emotion. We were ready day one, and we’ve just got to put in the work.”

For Doucette, being the head coach is a little different than previous years when he’s been an assistant. The assistant coaches often focus on the game preparation while the head coach sets the tone of the team and handles the administration and organization. Doucette says he’s enjoyed both roles.

“I think they’re both special in this game,” Doucette said. “Anything to do with this game is a pretty special way to give back.”

There will also be a number of cheerleaders from local school participating. On the West team are Megan Ruby (Gray-New Gloucester), Alexandria Durland (Mountain Valley) and Celine Bolduc (Dirigo).

The East squad includes Logan Berube (Edward Little), Samantha Copp (Edward Little), Taylor Hopkins (Lewiston), Sierra Melanson (Lewiston), Meagan Murphy (Lewiston), Casey Cossar (Oxford Hills), Sara Frutos (Oxford Hills), Chelse Macomber (Mt. Blue) and Gabrielle Walsh (Mt. Blue).

The Lobster Bowl is a Kora Shrine sponsored event where 100 percent of the net proceeds from the game are for the benefit of the 22 Shrine Hospitals for Children across the US, Canada, and Mexico. The event was created to raise money and to help make the public aware of the expert orthopedic and burn care facilities available, regardless of the patients’ ability to pay, to children who desperately need this specialized care.

The matchup brings over 150 student athletes and coaches from all over the state together.  All participants commit to a week long training camp in advance of the game.

“Personally, it’ s an honor just to be selected for this game,” Therrien said. “Everyone here knows it. You’re not selected just because of your athletic ability but because all these guys are great.”

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