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A Favorite Moment: Former Players Relish The St. Paul's-Boys' Latin Rivalry

April 17, 2017
The 1989 Boys' Latin lacrosse team was warming up when St. Paul's made the traditional march down the rolling hills of its sprawling Brooklandville, Md., campus toward the stadium.

This time, though, something was different about the Crusaders, catching the eye of almost the entire Lakers roster. 

Not only was St. Paul's wearing brand new yellow uniforms, but each shirt had a "Beat BL" patch emblazoned on the left shoulder. The bravado caused a stir among Boys' Latin and its legendary coach, Bob Shriver, who responded with comments that "can't be published" in this article. 

The result? A 12-6 victory for the Lakers and another lifelong memory for the players.

"Coach Shriver went crazy and so did our team," said Ryan Smith, a former Boys' Latin midfielder who later played at the University of Pennsylvania. "We wound up giving them a pretty sound beating that day. It's something my former teammates and I still talk about occasionally. I'll bet they burned those jerseys after the game."

Thus, the game was another exciting chapter in the greatest rivalry of high school lacrosse.

The memory also stands out for former Boys' Latin attackman Kevin Lutz, because at the time, teams only had a home and away jersey -- the idea of an alternate uniform was unthinkable. He agreed the site of "Beat BL" sparked something among the players, and they responded with a dominant performance.

"We didn't need any more motivation for this game but that put us over the top," said Lutz, who led the Lakers in scoring as a junior and senior. "We were not happy, and we won handily in that game." 

Gene Ubriaco, who scored five goals on the day and is currently an assistant coach at BL, added: "It was on a Saturday, so the crowd was huge and most of the other schools were there watching, so it was a really cool environment. It remains one of the stories that still gets talked about during the BL/SP week."

Judd Maslack was an attackman for St. Paul's and on the wrong side of that 1989 game. 

"We were pumped up walking down the hill to the game," he said. "That defeat was deflating, but the emotions of the day underscore the intense rivalry."

Despite that disappointment, Maslack cherishes his time playing against Boys' Latin. 

"It is definitely the biggest and best rivalry in town," Maslack said. "And since being in school for the last 25 years, I have always had a lot of respect for BL and always rooted for them -- except when they play SP."

The rivalry between the two programs even transcends the Baltimore area. After graduating from Loyola, Lutz remembers working on Wall Street, and he brought some friends back to Baltimore for a weekend. His pals had never seen a live lacrosse game, so Lutz took them to the annual Boys' Latin-St. Paul's tilt.

Lutz's buddies were mesmerized at the sight of more than 5,000 fans at the game. The following day, Lutz took them to a local college game with a pair of teams ranked in the top 10 nationally and about 1,000 people showed up.

"My friends couldn't get over how two small private boys' high schools in Maryland could draw that crowd versus two Division I, nationally ranked colleges at a game just a few miles away the next day -- on a Saturday," Lutz said. "I just said: 'It's Boys' Latin and St. Paul's. We don't like to lose to one another.' It's like a high school Michigan-Ohio State or a Duke-North Carolina. Even if one or the other is having a bad year, it's going to be a good game and we want to win."

At the end of the day, and despite the gamesmanship, Stewart Ridgely, who graduated from St. Paul's in 1986 and played goalie at Virginia, remembers how the friendships made the game so visceral. 

"The St Paul's-Boys' Latin lacrosse rivalry is so special due to the storied histories of the programs, but equally important are the friendships that exist between the players/alumni that share a pride in their respective school and a mutual respect for the competition," Ridgely said. "For the student-athlete, this rivalry can begin as early as the middle school years and carry on throughout life. It is wonderful tradition of competition that is sure to produce many more exciting games."

Stan Ross, a two-time All-Metro defenseman for the Lakers, was also part of the "yellow jersey" game in 1989. Ross remembers Ubriaco taking over the game, going "coast to coast" to score a goal. 

"The rivalry between BL and SP is huge," Ross said. "It didn't matter the sport, it didn't matter the place, it was always a game you had marked on your calendar. It had major bragging rights. It was one the most intense, exciting rivalries that I have been associated with."

Issue 232: April 2017