COVID-19 forces cancellation of Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl
It was to have been the last time many of Maine’s high school football standouts would ever put on a helmet and shoulder pads. Now, they won’t get the opportunity.
John Hersom, the president of the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Clasic, has announced that the 31st annual senior all-star football game has been canceled because of complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We sincerely share in the disappointment that will be felt by so many, especially the selected premiere high school participants from throughout the State of Maine,” Hersom said.
“This extremely difficult decision involved exhausting all efforts in regards to maintaining and providing a safe atmosphere for all involved, including our week long training camps and throughout game day events, while also still maintaining State of Maine and the CDC COVID-19 guidelines in conjunction with directives set forth by the Maine Principals’ Association in regards to high school sporting activities,” he added.
The more than 110 Lobster Bowl players and coaches who participate each year are divided into East and West squads for the annual contest, which this year was to be played on July 18 at Thornton Academy in Saco.
The Lobster Bowl has served as a fundraiser for the Shriners’ Hospitals for Children and net proceeds from the game will be presented on behalf of the 2020 all-star honorees and participants.
The Board of Governors will continue to recognize and honor the 2020 Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic football and cheer participants throughout 2020 and 2021.
“We would like to thank all of those that have volunteered and worked tirelessly in gathering information, brainstorming solutions, and dedicating so much of their time and energy toward this great event that will continue to make a difference in the life of a child,” Hersom said.
A pair of defensive linemen from the region were selected for the 2020 Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl. Dexter Regional High School’s Haedyn Guenther and Isaac Weymouth of Foxcroft Academy were both named to the East squad which features the best recently graduated high school senior football players across all classes. Participants are nominated by their coaches and then selected by the coaches from each Lobster Bowl side.
Foxcroft Academy head coach Danny White was set to lead the East squad, and Steffi Victoria of Foxcroft was named to the East cheering team as a flyer. The Lobster Bowl head coaching position would have been the first for White, he served as an assistant previously and played in the 2003 game following his graduation from Foxcroft Academy.
East and West training camps were scheduled for Foxcroft Academy leading up to the game. Earlier this year Foxcroft Academy and the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl board of directors announced a new five-year agreement for the secondary school to continue to host the annual Lobster Bowl Football training camps. This will be the second five-year deal the two groups have reached.
Since 2015 Foxcroft Academy has been the destination for the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic training camps. More than 110 student-athletes and coaches from both the East and West teams are housed on campus in July and will hold three practice sessions each day as they prepare.
In 2019 the West won 60-14 to improve to 20-10 all-time in the series.