High school football/cheering

Two Lions, Panther, Mariner earn Lobster Bowl nods

Resh, Salvatore, Ripley, Miller ready to tackle wonderful final opportunity
By Mark Haskell | Apr 25, 2019

Saco — Four Midcoast student-athletes — three on the gridiron and one on the sidelines — will get the opportunity to represent their high schools one final time in what many call the showcase of the summer.

The 30th annual Maine Shriners Lobster Bowl Classic, set for Saturday, July 20 at Thornton Academy, features the best of the best of senior high school football players and cheerleaders, and for a good cause.

This year, Belfast’s Donald Resh and Jed Salvatore, Oceanside’s Ben Ripley and Medomak Valley’s Eli Miller will participate in the event.

Resh, Ripley and Miller will be on the East football team, while Salvatore will represent the East cheerleaders.

The event was created to raise money and awareness of the orthopedic and burn care facilities available, regardless of the patients’ ability to pay, to children who need specialized care.

It also is a rite of passage for departing Maine high school seniors as the best of the best are selected to represent their schools.

The student-athletes, whom are nominated by their coaches and selected by a committee from the Maine Athletics Association, also commit to a week-long training camp prior to the game.

Each player is obligated to raise $500 for the Shriners to earn the opportunity to participate in the Lobster Bowl.

Ripley was a sensational running back for Oceanside, was named second-team all-conference in the Big 11 Conference and was one of the finalists for player of the year.

The Mariners finished 3-5 in the regular season, clinched the No. 7 seed in the Class C North playoffs and lost to No. 2 Hermon in the quarterfinals.

"I'm just thankful for the opportunity to play with such great talent around me," said Ripley. "It's also very nice to meet new people from areas you usually wouldn't. It's an honor to be named for this game because it gives me another chance to play before I go onto the next step in my life."

Miller, who played quarterback, linebacker and fullback for Medomak Valley, was a Big 11 all-conference honorable mention, an all-academic selection and a conference player-of-the-year nominee.

Miller totaled 323 rushing yards, 118 passing yards and scored five two-point conversions, while on defense he had 39 solo tackles and 10 assisted tackles.

"Eli was our leader on and off the field," said Medomak Valley coach Ryan Snell. "He was our program's first recipient of our Panther award, reflective of MVP-type play and leadership both on and off the field. He was in a unique situation of being around the program before its actual start, and the amount of time he put into it is immeasurable."

"It's an honor to be selected to participate in this year's Lobster Bowl," said Miller. "Personally I think most of the seniors on the team were more than worthy to go, so I plan to represent them and our community to my absolute best."

Miller added, "This game produces not just a huge amount of funds to a good cause, but memories and one last chance to see the field."

The Panthers finished 4-4 in the regular season, clinched the No. 5 seed in the Class C North playoffs and lost to No. 4 Nokomis of Newport — which went on to win the state Class C title — in the quarterfinals.

Resh, who played offensive and defensive line, was a Big 11 all-conference honorable mention for Belfast. Defensively last fall, he had 22 solo tackles, 15 assisted tackles, two quarterback sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

The Lions finished 2-6 in the regular season, secured the eighth and final playoff spot in Class C North and lost to No. 1 Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield in the quarterfinals.

Salvatore, a Belfast cheerleader, was the team captain and was instrumental in bringing back the school’s cheering squad this season.

"I'm honored to be able to participate in such a honorable event that goes towards such a great cause," he said. "Not only does one football game raise a ton of money for thousands of children in need, but also spreads word to people about the needs. Ad what a great cause it is. It melts my heart to know I can be part of such and event this summer and to cheer my heart out for the kids who can't."

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