2013-07-26 / Front Page

Lobster Bowl last time on field for many

By Jack Flagler and Michael Kelley
Staff Writers

Quarterback Dillon Russo of Scarborough waits for the snap from South Portland center Cody Munson during the Lobster Bowl, an annual charity game that was held at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford Saturday, July 21. (Michael Kelley photo) Steve Stinson, the varsity football coach at South Portland High School, got a chance last weekend to coach some of the top football players in the state during the annual Lobster Bowl. Stinson’s squad, however, came up short and lost the game 25- 13. (Michael Kelley photo) South Portland’s Liam Rottkov, left, shares a pregame handshake before last Saturday’s Lobster Bowl with Devin McMahan, an offensive lineman from Leavitt Area High School. (Michael Kelley photo


South Portland’s Liam Rottkov, left, shares a pregame handshake before last Saturday’s Lobster Bowl with Devin McMahan, an offensive lineman from Leavitt Area High School. (Michael Kelley photo South Portland’s Liam Rottkov, left, shares a pregame handshake before last Saturday’s Lobster Bowl with Devin McMahan, an offensive lineman from Leavitt Area High School. (Michael Kelley photo

BIDDEFORD — Last weekend’s Lobster Bowl Classic gathered the some of the state’s best football players to raise money for Kora Shrine Hospitals.

It was an experience South Portland High School’s Steve Stinson, who was head coach of the West squad, won’t forget.

Stinson played in the third Lobster Bowl when he attended Portland High School as a lineman, and this year his team was represented by two South Portland players, defensive lineman Liam Rottkov and offensive lineman Cody Munson.

Both players plan to continue their football career next season. Rottkov, who had a fumble recovery in the second quarter, will attend Castleton State College in Vermont, while Munson will play both football and lacrosse at Husson University in Bangor.

Stinson said both players are “great representatives of South Portland High School” that eased the team through a difficult 2-6 year after the Red Riots lost many of their key players from 2011’s playoff roster.

“Going into last year, they were really our only two big returners that came back. They did a great job putting up with some of the younger guys and going through a year of transition and served as great leaders for us. This is a great way to cap off their high school career,” Stinson said.

It was also a great way for Will Dumas, a 5-foot, 8-inch, 190-pound linebacker, to end his high school career after leading the Kennebunk High School football team to a 5-3 record, one of its best regular seasons in years,

Dumas said he heard questions about his size throughout his football career, but never was affected by the skeptics.

“It doesn’t really bother me. I really just went out there and played. You can’t let that bother you,” he said.

Dumas will attend Maine Maritime Academy next year, but does not plan to play football.

He said Kennebunk’s success and the honor of playing with other all-stars in the Lobster Bowl after his senior season have made fitting endings to his career.

“This is a last hurrah I guess. It doesn’t really make me sad. I’m proud of what I did with football,” said Dumas, who had a fumble recovery in the game.

Despite losing the game 25-13, Rottkov, Munson, Dumas and their West teammates have a lot


Steve Stinson, the varsity football coach at South Portland High School, got a chance last weekend to coach some of the top football players in the state during the annual Lobster Bowl. Stinson’s squad, however, came up short and lost the game 25- 13. (Michael Kelley photo) Steve Stinson, the varsity football coach at South Portland High School, got a chance last weekend to coach some of the top football players in the state during the annual Lobster Bowl. Stinson’s squad, however, came up short and lost the game 25- 13. (Michael Kelley photo) to be proud of in the game, which showcases some of the best football players in the state is an annual fundraiser for the Kora Shrine hospitals. This year players, cheerleaders and coaches raised $95,000 for the Shriners organization, which has helped more than 1 million patients in its hospitals since 1922.

The mission of helping children in need hit especially close to home for Scarborough High School Lobster Bowl players quarterback Dillon Russo and offensive lineman Travis Elliot.

Kyle St. Clair, an honorary member of the Scarborough team and a boy coach Lance Johnson said “controlled the room,” died at the age of 8 in January from complications from a rare digestive disease. St. Clair was given his own Scarborough football jersey this season, and players often visited him at his house.

“Team Kyle gave all of our games a purpose in the regular season. Coming here, we know we’re going to be raising money for kids and that gives purpose to the game we’re going to be playing on Saturday,” Elliot said.

Johnson, who was an assistant coach in the Lobster Bowl and worked with the West’s wide receivers, attended a Walk-A-Thon in St. Clair’s memory July 12, just two days before Lobster Bowl practices started in Hebron. He said St. Clair’s death was difficult for everyone in the Scarborough football community, but his players are better for the lessons they learned through trying times.

“I think for the guys from Scarborough, that kind of opened their eyes to how fortunate they are in their lives, how some people have different struggles, and to give back to the community they live in.” Johnson said.

Elliot said the Lobster Bowl is an experience that will stick with him long after he heads to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. to study pre-physical therapy this fall.

“It was nice to work hard all season and just get to be able to play in the game and raise money for these kids is amazing. I met some great guys. It was something I will never forget,” Elliot said.

The game was bittersweet for Ian Robinson, who thought he was walking off Waterhouse Field for the last time Oct. 20 after a 42-14 loss to Thornton Academy. The loss to the Tigers’ bitter rival dropped Biddeford to 3-5, failing to earn a playoff berth in Robinson’s senior season.

“It was really sad. I thought it was my last time ever, so I was like, ‘Wow, I’m never going to be walk out of the tunnel under those lights again,’” said Robinson, who will attend the University of New Hampshire next year, but has no plans to continue his football career.


South Portland’s Liam Rottkov, left, shares a pregame handshake before last Saturday’s Lobster Bowl with Devin McMahan, an offensive lineman from Leavitt Area High School. (Michael Kelley photo South Portland’s Liam Rottkov, left, shares a pregame handshake before last Saturday’s Lobster Bowl with Devin McMahan, an offensive lineman from Leavitt Area High School. (Michael Kelley photo

Despite the loss, Robinson said he still felt honored to represent his school and conference in the annual summer all-star game.

“It’s the best stadium in the state in my opinion. The fans are right on top of you, there’s stadium to both sides. Especially for a Lobster Bowl, they pack that place. It’s crazy.”

The fans traveled from all over the state to see the game, which remained scoreless though most of the first half. The West was able to keep the East off the board until Chandler Shostak, a wide receiver from Cony High School, scored on a 61-yard reception from Jordan Whitney, a quarterback from Mt. Blue High School. The touchdown, scored with 8:48 left in the half, put the East up 7-0.

The West answered back in the closing minute of the half when Alex Shain, a running back from Sanford High School, scored on a 4-yard run to tie the school 7-7.

The deadlock did not last for long. Whitney paraded the East’s offense down the field to set up a successful field goal by Dennis Meehan of Gardiner High School.

After an abbreviated halftime due to the threat of thunderstorms, the two teams came back reenergized. The West found them in a 12-7 hole early in the third quarter, however, when Massabesic quarterback Jacob Desrochers was sacked in the end zone.

The West took its only lead of the game with 5:08 left in the third quarter when Shain scored his second touchdown of the game on a 75-yard run to give the West a 13-12 lead.

The momentum turned to the East after the West’s Damien Shepard of Windham High School fumbled a punt return and lost possession with 2:50 left in the quarter. This set up a 42-yard touchdown pass between Whitney and Ryan Rebar, a wide receiver from Foxcroft Academy. After a failed two-point attempt after the touchdown, the East closed the third quarter with an 18-13 advantage.

After a hard fight in the first half of the fourth quarter, the West fumbled the ball on first and 10 at the 20-yard line and lost possession with 6:45 left in the game. The East’s recovery proved to be the difference in the game as Chad Luker of Mt. Blue turned an 8-yard run into a touchdown with 4:21 left in the game to give the East a 25-13 lead.

While the score didn’t fall in his team’s favor, Bobby Begin, a linebacker in the game, said it was a great way to end his season, in which he helped Thornton Academy win the Class A state title.

“To finish off with a state championship, there’s no better way to finish off your senior year of high school football, and then playing in this game, it’s just a great honor to be a part of this great program that raises money for kids at Shriners Hospitals,” said Begin, who won the Frank Gaziano Award this season for his work on the offensive line for the state champion Trojans

The awards would not end there for Begin, who is going to the University of Maine at Orono to study accounting in the fall. At halftime, Begin won the John R. Schmidlin Trophy, an annual award handed out to a player in each football class who excels both on and off the field.

This is the second straight year a Thornton Academy player has won both awards. Luke Libby won both last season.

“It was an incredible experience meeting everyone and playing with all these great players,” Begin said after the game. “It was a lot of fun. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.”

Begin played in what will likely be his last football game Saturday. He said he is at peace with the decision to give up football.

“I’m ready to say this is my last week of football and I’m happy about it. I’m just lucky to get this experience,” Begin said

Begin was joined on the Lobster Bowl roster by fellow Thornton Academy graduate Dakota Tarbox, who will also attend the University of Maine next year on a football scholarship to play tight end.

“It’s a great feeling being on the all star team, but it’s also a great feeling getting to raise the money for the Shriner kids and getting to come out here and help that program out too,” Tarbox said.

From the Sentry coverage area

Players:

Liam Rottkov/Defensive Line/South Portland

Cody Munson/Offensive Line/South Portlland

Coache:

Steve Stinson/Head Coach/South Portland

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