2012-07-27 / Front Page

West puts aside rivalries

By Jack Flagler and
Michael Kelley
Staff Writers


Andrew Lavallee, a defensive linesman from Cape Elizabeth High School, gets his teammates pumped up before the 23rd annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic on Saturday, July 21 at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford. (Michael Kelley photo) Andrew Lavallee, a defensive linesman from Cape Elizabeth High School, gets his teammates pumped up before the 23rd annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic on Saturday, July 21 at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford. (Michael Kelley photo) Scott Thibeault’s senior season at Scarborough High School didn’t go as planned. Thibeault came into the preseason with high hopes as the Red Storm’s primary running back, but in the third game of the season, a win over Biddeford on Sept. 16, he fractured two vertebrae in his back and the injury kept him out for a month.

So while the 23rd Annual Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl, held on July 21 at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford, is a special honor for all of the recently graduated football players from around the state, Thibeault had a little extra motivation to succeed.

“Something I wanted to do was play in this game because I felt like my senior season was very unfinished compared to what I thought it was going to be like preseason,” Thibeault said.


Andrew Lavallee (66) takes a breather during the final quarter of the Lobster Bowl Classic. Lavallee’s team—the West squad—won the game 48-24. In the fall, Lavallee will head to Assumption College, where he will be playing football along side Scarborough’s Scott Thibeault, a teammate in the game. (Michael Kelley photo) Andrew Lavallee (66) takes a breather during the final quarter of the Lobster Bowl Classic. Lavallee’s team—the West squad—won the game 48-24. In the fall, Lavallee will head to Assumption College, where he will be playing football along side Scarborough’s Scott Thibeault, a teammate in the game. (Michael Kelley photo) “I never would have imagined myself getting injured. I’ve never broken a bone before that injury. I had to sit out and it was a really tough experience, but I’m glad I got to do this.”

Thibeault scored on a 4-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter for the West team that cut the East’s early lead to 16-14. From that point on, the momentum of the game turned. The West scored 26 consecutive points and won the game 48- 24.


Jeff Turcotte, a running back from Lewiston High School avoids the tackle in the first quarter of the Lobster Bowl Classic last weekend. Turcotte didn’t get much farther as South Portland defensive back Logan Gaddar (21) made the tackle seconds later. It was one of a handful of big plays Gaddar made in the game. (Michael Kelley photo) Jeff Turcotte, a running back from Lewiston High School avoids the tackle in the first quarter of the Lobster Bowl Classic last weekend. Turcotte didn’t get much farther as South Portland defensive back Logan Gaddar (21) made the tackle seconds later. It was one of a handful of big plays Gaddar made in the game. (Michael Kelley photo) “It was definitely great playing for a cause. We get to play against the best of the best. We all just love playing. The best part is, all the money goes to a great cause. I am really glad to be a part of this,” Thibeault said after the game.

The players, coaches and cheerleaders raised more than $73,000 for the Shriners organization, which has treated more than 1 million patients in its hospitals since 1922.

In the fall, Thibeault will head to Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., where he will play football and pursue a business degree.

Andrew Lavallee, the 6-foot, 2-inch, 300-pound defensive lineman from Cape Elizabeth, who also played in the Lobster Classic, will join Thibeault on the Assumption team next year. The two new teammates have never played against each other, but Thibeault said he had heard of Lavallee through football circles and got to know him during practices in the week leading up to the game.

Lavallee said there were a number of players on the West squad he got to know over the course of the week at Hebron Academy, the practice facility where players from both teams prepared in the week leading to the game.

“We all bonded pretty well. We all get along real well. It’s nice actually. There’s a lot of kids on this western team that I never thought I’d talk to,” Lavalle said.

Among that group, he said, were the trio of players from Wells, linebacker Louis DiTomasso, offensive lineman Joshua Ingalls and quarterback Paul McDonough. The Warriors’ undefeated state championship season included a tough 14-6 win over Cape Elizabeth in the season opener on Sept. 2. Lavalle said the matchup between the two teams is always tough, but the players were able to put aside any previous differences in the practices before the Lobster Bowl.

“It’s a transition, but it’s a camaraderie now,” added Kennebunk defensive lineman Sean Foley. “We’re all working to be one team, we don’t really look back on the season and think of those rivalries, we all talk about it, but it doesn’t affect relationships.”

Foley played attack for the Kennebunk lacrosse team this spring that made it to the Western Maine finals. While that team was more successful than the 2-6 Rams football team, Foley said he prefers football and plans to play football at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. next season.

Logan Gaddar of South Portland and Luke Libby of Thornton Academy were another pair of players who had to put aside a history of tough matchups between their two teams.

The Red Riots defeated Thornton on Sept. 9 by a score of 20-16, but Libby and the Trojans got it done when it counted most. On Nov. 5 Thornton defeated South Portland in the Western Maine Class A semifinal 20-15 with a late goal line stand.

It was a tough way for Gaddar to end his final game with South Portland, but he said it didn’t affect his relationship with Libby, who sat across the table from Gaddar as the players ate lunch at Hebron.

“There were a lot of rivalries in high school but now we’re all graduated anyway. There’s no real grudges against anyone ... I talk to Luke all the time. We talk about the game sometimes. It’s kind of fun seeing his side of it,” Gaddar said.

It was an award-winning season for Libby, who won the Frank J. Gaziano Award for being the top defensive lineman in the state for the 2011 football season. At the Lobster Bowl, the awards kept coming. In a halftime ceremony, Libby was awarded the John R. Schmidlin Trophy, an annual award voted on by head football coaches in each class. Winners of the award excel both on and off the field and are good citizens and team players.

“It was definitely an honor to win the award. I was surprised to win it,” Libby said.

Both Libby and Gaddar are heading to college in upstate New York in the fall. Gaddar will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Libby will attend Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

Libby said the game is a great way to play a sport they all love, while raising money for an important cause.

“It brings a lot of people together,” Libby said after the game.

Libby said the win for the West wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of his teammates.

“Everyone had a will to win and really pushed themselves and each other. We all worked hard and wanted to win,” he said. “It was bittersweet and a great last game. I am going to miss it.”

Biddeford High School, traditionally Thornton’s rival, had a down year this season. The Tigers finished the season winless at 0-8, an aberration for a team used to five or six wins every year.

For Biddeford senior defensive lineman Andrew Descoteaux, who will head to the University of Rhode Island in the fall, the tough season gave his last game on Waterman Field added importance.

“There’s more drive than I feel like if we had a normal season, a normal Biddeford season,” Descoteaux said. “There’s a lot more drive because I just want to finish at Waterhouse Field with one more win.”

He needed the help of some players that had been his traditional rivals in the past, but on Saturday, Descoteaux capped a bad season on a high note, and he walked off of Waterman Field victorious.

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