When he was selected to play in the Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl this summer, Skowhegan Area High School quarterback Garrett McSweeney received some advice from his coach Matt Friedman, who played in the game and has coach in it numerous times.

“He said raise a lot of money,” McSweeney said.

Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl XXVIII will be played July 15 at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford. The annual game raises money for Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. On Sunday, this year’s participants saw first hand what the game is all about at the first team meetings at the Kora Shrine Temple in Lewiston.

Football players, cheerleaders, and their families met with Shriners and coaches on Sunday to discuss fundraising and meet their new teammates. They also heard from patients who have been treated at a Shriner’s hospital, who have directly benefited from the funds raised by games like the Lobster Bowl.

The group heard from a girl who was treated at Shriner’s hospitals for a condition that causes weak bones. Taylor Heath, a quarterback from Cony High School, said he was touched by the girl’s positive attitude, despite the challenges she has faced.

“She was one of the happiest girls I’ve ever seen. It inspires me, because I can’t comprehend what she’s been through,” Heath said.

Added McSweeney: “It was very touching and inspiring. It makes us grateful and makes us glad to help the Shriners do what they’re doing. It’s no longer a game. It’s for all the kids. It’s like somebody said (Sunday), no one loses in the game.”

Heath said he enjoyed learning a little about the history of the Lobster Bowl.

“It’s a huge honor. I’m happy to represent my team one more time,” Heath said. “We’re raising money for a good cause, which is the main thing.”

Heath and McSweeney will likely share the quarterback position for the East this season. Last year was the highest scoring Lobster Bowl in the game’s history, a 58-52 win, and the strong-armed duo are looking forward to playing alongside former rivals.

“I’m looking forward to playing a game for a good cause,” McSweeney said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @tLazarczykMTM