Winthrop/Monmouth’s Nate Scott of the West team defends a pass during the Lobster Bowl on Saturday.

Winthrop/Monmouth’s Nate Scott of the West team defends a pass during the Lobster Bowl on Saturday.

SACO — Nate Scott’s senior high school football season ended in disappointment, both in a team aspect and personally.

Scott was playing on an injured leg when his Winthrop/Monmouth team lost in heartbreaking fashion to rival Lisbon in the Class D South regional final.

Thankfully for a now-healthy Scott, the 28th Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic provided another shot at ending his career on the high note that was taken away last November.

“It was great. It was a lot of fun,” Scott said. “The leg felt great.”

Scott admitted there were nerves in getting back out on the field eight months after his injury occurred.

“At first, after not playing for a long time, and then practicing for a week and going right out, there’s obviously going to be a little uncertainty,” Scott said. “But once I got out there, I was around people I really trusted. I’ve been coached well all week. It was just exciting.”

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That Scott’s West squad won made playing again that much sweeter.

“It was great. I’m not playing at the next level, so to win my last high school football game — to win my last football game — it’s a great way to cap it off,” Scott said.

On the other sideline, Portland’s Nick Archambault was in a similar situation. But at least Scott got to play in his team’s last game of the season. Archambault had to watch his Bulldogs make a run to the Class A state championship, which they lost.

The Portland linebacker tore his ACL and meniscus in September and missed much of the season. But what he meant to his team for three-plus years afforded him an opportunity to play in the Lobster Bowl, according to East coach Matt Perkins, of Windham.

Archambault got the call from Perkins in March that he had a spot on the team if he was all healed up.

“That kind of gave me some incentive to really push myself during physical therapy,” Archambault said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity, for all the coaches in believing in me and my ability to recover in time for this game.”

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For Archambault, just playing was gravy.

“Just all the great football memories that I had for the past 10 years came rushing back when I stepped on the field for the first time,” Archambault said. “I was smelling the turf, putting my cleats on, putting my pads on. It’s the last time I’m ever going to do this, and I didn’t expect to have that shot, so it’s really special.”

Just for kicks, Archambault made an impact for the East. At least for a moment.

With last year’s winners down 26-0 in the waning seconds of the first half and the West driving, Archambault dropped back into coverage despite reading a running play. What he though was a mistake on his part turned into a mistake on West quarterback Cam Day’s part. Archambault became the target for an interception, which he returned 90 yards for a touchdown — the longest pick-6 in Lobster Bowl history.

“I juggled the ball for a second. I almost didn’t catch it. And then out of the corner of my eye I saw some kid chasing me. I didn’t even know his number or anything, I could just see him the whole time I was running, so I tried to get to the far sideline as quick as possible,” Archambault said. “My leg was feeling great, but I didn’t know if I would have speed to get in the end zone. I’m just glad I did.”

Archambault said he was happy to provide “a little bit of a spark” for the East before halftime, though it didn’t help much in a 55-18 loss. Archambault did earn the East’s Most Valuable Player Award for his efforts.

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Getting defensive

Archambault’s pick was one standout defensive play for the East. The West had many. In fact, the West’s defensive effort as a whole stood out after the boys in blue and silver gave up a Lobster Bowl record 58 points last year.

While none of the players are the same, and the coaching staffs mostly different, the West defense felt it had a chip on its shoulder after how last year’s game went.

“We definitely talked about not giving up 50 this year,” West defensive coordinator Lance Johnson, of Scarborough, said.

“We all take pride in our positions, and we didn’t want to let them to score anything,” Scott, a defensive back for the West, said. “It’s historically been a game that they put up a lot of points. But all week we were saying that’s not going to happen. We went out, the coaches did a great job of putting in coverages that we could work with well, and putting us in a good position to shut them down. It worked out well.”

After giving up 44 offensive points in the first half of last year’s game, the West defense shut out the East offense in the first half on Saturday at Hill Stadium.

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“We were a little nervous. We played a lot of plays in the first quarter but we were able to keep them out,” Johnson said. “The guys, from early on in camp, it’s just the effort of the guys, the character of the kids that we had on this team. So the effort that we practiced with and played with, it just made a difference throughout the whole week, and made a difference today.”

Johnson admitted it can be difficult to play defense in the Lobster Bowl, which has a rule that teams must choose a defensive front and stick with it.

“We decided to play a five-man front, and we had a lot of line movement up front,” Johnson said. “We did a lot of slanting and twisting of those guys to try and get somebody free. So the (East quarterbacks) didn’t have a lot of time back there. And then we were just very athletic on the back end, our secondary.”

The East quarterbacks came into the game with impressive passing resumes. Skowhegan’s Garrett McSweeney was a Fitzpatrick Trophy semifinalist and Cony’s Taylor Heath plays in one of the state’s most pass-happy offenses. But they were each held to just one touchdown pass, with McSweeney’s the result of two deflections on the same play that just so happened to end up in his receiver’s hands.

“I got a little nervous last night thinking why did I decide to run this front in this game,” Johnson said. “My cup’s always half-full. I thought we were pretty athletic in the secondary, so I thought that we could contain their receivers.”

On the receiving end

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The West had a few receivers that proved to be hard to contain.

Ben Ekedahl, a 6-foot-3 wideout from Cape Elizabeth, was a know commodity. Lisbon’s Tyler Halls, however, hadn’t played the position since his sophomore year, save for a few series during his senior season.

But it’s the position that Halls has said on multiple occasions he most associates with.

“It felt awesome to play (receiver again), especially with two great QBs. I just had a blast,” Halls said. “I worked my tail off in practice, and it paid off in this game.”

The results weren’t there immediately for Halls, who had trouble connecting with Day of Bonny Eagle and Frankie Veino of Sanford.

“We just warmed up on the sideline. We had a couple practice throws, we went through our routes, and it just went off from there,” Halls said.

Eventually the ball found Halls’ hands, and Halls found paydirt, for touchdowns of 4 and 30 yards from Veino.

“I got to show off a lot, but I don’t think I showed off as much as I could,” Halls said.

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Winthrop/Monmouth defensive back lines up for a snap during the Lobster Bowl on Saturday.

Winthrop/Monmouth defensive back lines up for a snap during the Lobster Bowl on Saturday.

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