LEWISTON — Hunter Hayes twice swung the momentum for the West in Saturday’s Lobster Bowl. Once at the end of the first half, then at the beginning of the fourth quarter by scoring the deciding touchdown.

On the second play of the fourth quarter, Hayes stripped an East ball carrier and ran down the left sideline 90 yards untouched for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful but the score gave the West a lead late.

The West then played stout defense to hang on and beat the East 40-35 in the 32nd Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl at Don Roux Field.

Hayes also intercepted a pass from Austin Seavey and returned it a few yards to the East’s 30-yard line with a minute left in the second quarter.

Hayes was named Most Valuable Player for the West. 

“It was awesome,” Hayes said after the game. “The last time I played football was disappointing. To be out here and finish like that, it’s awesome.”


The East’s pass that Hayes picked off was off a play that Hayes had seen for years in practice at Leavitt. 

“(Former Leavitt quarterback) Wyatt (Hathaway) and coach (Mike) Hathaway ran that play a bunch of times in practice, so I’ve just had a lot of reps at it,” Hayes said. “I’ve seen a bunch of looks out of that and I’ve just had a lot of experience. It’s a flood concept, so you run a deep out and then go shallow, so I just like to work in the middle of it and kind of play the ball in the air.”

The Leavitt senior was also the leading fundraiser for the West ($7,400), while Max Clark led the East in raising money for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

The play by Hayes helped flip the momentum for the West. 

On the next play after Hayes’ interception, West quarterback Keegan Andrews found Cam Cornett in the flat on the right side. Cornett then cut left and ran up the sideline, spinning out of a tackle and scoring on a 30-yard catch-and-run to pull the West within 29-28 with 47 seconds left in the first half.

“It was a big play, and it turned the whole game around for us,” West defensive lineman Thomas Horton said. “It switched up the momentum. We talked in the locker room (at halftime), and we definitely played better and had a lot more intensity in the second half.”


Seemingly feeding off of the momentum gained at the end of the first half from Hayes’ interception and then the touchdown from Cornett, the West kept the offense going.

At the beginning of the third quarter, Andrews threw a long, 58-yard pass to Ryan Thurber that set up a Hayden Henricksen 1-yard touchdown run. The score put the West up 34-29.

“There’s a lot of ebbs and flows in the game, and highs and lows emotionally,” East coach Dan White said. “I think there were a few times we could have been more composed and maybe for them, too, but there were some big swings in the game. We were up two touchdowns with two minutes left in the first half and then go into half up one (point). Then they scored after the break, and so that’s three touchdowns and there was a lot of emotion there.”

Later in the third, the East was driving but couldn’t convert a fourth down and turned the ball over on downs to the West, which received the ball on its own 48.

The East’s Elliot Shearer intercepted Andrews at the West’s 34.

On the ensuing drive, Marcus Hampton ran five times, including a 1-yard score that put the East ahead 35-34 with 52 seconds left in the third.


Hampton won the MVP award for the East.

The West took the lead back on Hayes’ fumble recovery, then stopped the East on three straight possessions to hang on to the victory, with sacks from Brayden Locke and Michael Ross that ended drives.

“They were running a lot of pass, and so me and the other guys on the line, we were able to pick up on some of their calls and some of the stuff they were using to signal for a pass play,” Horton said. “We picked up on that and got right in the pass rush. It worked out nice.” 

“All over the board kids played well,” West coach Chris Kates, of Lisbon, added. “Keegan Andrews played really well, our offensive and defensive lines played really well. I think both teams’ lines had their advantages and both sides played pretty well.”

The East got off to an early lead and had the lead for much of the first half.

On the East’s second possession of the game, Hampton started his big afternoon with a 57-yard touchdown run off of a direct snap. The two-point conversion was successful when Jesse Drury ran in a bad snap and the East led early, 8-0.


Hampton ended with four total touchdowns and 182 total yards of offense.

“I thought he showed a great deal of versatility,” White said of Hampton. “Working inside the tackles, bouncing outside the tackles, breaking tackles, he was pretty special. He really was. He poured his heart and soul on the field.”

The West answered on the next drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Aidan Dimillo, making it 8-6. Dimillo ran for 82 yards in the first half.

With just a couple minutes left in the first quarter, Andrews found Ryan Banister for a 20-yard touchdown to give the West its only lead of the first half, 13-8.

The East battled back with a 74-yard drive capped off by a 40-yard touchdown pass from Will Ledbetter to Ashton Dennett. The two-point conversion was good and the West took a 16-13 lead with 14:51 left in the half.

Later in the quarter, a West player fumbled and Oxford Hills’ Isaiah Oufiero fell on the ball, giving the East the ball at its own 27-yard line.


The East went on an 11-play drive that ended on a 1-yard touchdown run from Hampton.

The West then fumbled again, giving the East the ball on the West’s 19.

Hampton then got the toss on the next play and threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Ashton Dennett.

On the first play of the West’s next drive, Andrews found Banister for a 71-yard touchdown pass up the right side, making it a 29-21 game with 1:52 left in the first half.

Andrews finished the first half with 161 yards and two touchdowns, while Hampton had three total touchdowns for the East before halftime. Andrews ended the game with 262 passing yards. 

“I think anytime you can have athletes of this caliber on both sides of the ball it presents challenges to the athletes on the other side,” Kates said. “We did some creative things with the offense we had and we have a great group of kids. They made the week go by great and I’m really happy to have the opportunity to coach them.”

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