As rivalries go, few are set up any better than Boys' Latin vs. St. Paul's in lacrosse.
For starters, the schools are nearby and about the same size. Year after year, there's familiarity with the players, coaches and even families.
The programs have held up their end in the mighty Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference with consistent success. And the teams usually meet on the last day of the regular season.
Tuesday at St. Paul's, the Crusaders and Lakers will play in the rivalry's 100th meeting — dating to 1933. In what is believed to be the oldest lacrosse rivalry in the area, Boys' Latin has 51 wins, St. Paul's has 47 and there was one tie back in 1934.
In addition to this being a milestone meeting, St. Paul's coach Rick Brocato, who announced his retirement before this season, his 17th, will be coaching in his final regular-season game.
"It's such a storied rivalry and emotions are always riding so high that day," said Brocato, who became the program's winningest coach this season. "It's so special because all these kids [and coaches] know each other so well. This is a rivalry that sometimes pits families against families."
The connections are countless, starting with many of the players who will be squaring off against lifelong friends and club teammates. Brocato spent time as an assistant coach at Boys' Latin under legendary coach Bob Shriver, who was part of 59 games in the rivalry as a player, assistant and head coach for the Lakers. Boys' Latin assistant coach Gene Ubriaco spent time as an assistant at St. Paul's under Brocato. Former BL standout player R.G. Keenan is an assistant at St. Paul's.
Shriver, who finished with 507 wins in 36 years as Lakers coach before stepping down in 2015, felt the ups and downs of the rivalry during his playing days.
"My high school junior year, we beat them and it was a colossal upset. And then they came back the next year and crushed us because they were so mad about the loss the year before," he said.
Like many times over the years, there will be a lot on the line when the teams take to Tullai Field in Brooklandville at 4:15 p.m. For the No. 3 Lakers, who are 12-5 overall and 6-2 in league play, a win would ensure second place and a first-round bye in the playoffs. St. Paul's (14-4, 5-3) can secure a home game in Friday's quarterfinals with a win.
Last season, the Lakers, under first-year coach and former standout player Brian Farrell, claimed a shocking 16-6 home win over the Crusaders that set the tone for the postseason. Boys' Latin reached the championship game, while St. Paul's, which had won six straight before the setback, was eliminated by Severn in the opening round.
On Tuesday, the teams will be wearing throwback jerseys and the headmasters — Boys' Latin Christopher J. Post and St. Paul's David Faus — will participate in a pregame coin toss to commemorate the event. Brocato said upwards of 4,000 supporters could be in attendance and recommended anybody interested in attending to arrive early. The school is shutting down all afternoon activities to have everyone off the campus by 2:45 p.m.