East coaches Dan O'Connell (left) of John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor and B.L. Lippert of Cony High School in Augusta talk strategy during a 2019 practice at Foxcroft Academy for the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl Classic in Saco. The 2020 Lobster Bowl has been canceled because of COVID-19. Toby Nelson | Foxcroft Academy

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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 Classic, has announced that the 31st annual senior all-star football game has been canceled because of complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

“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.

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Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...