By his own admittance, St. Mary's lacrosse coach Jim Moorhead is a competitive person.
That competitiveness, however, was challenged in recent years when Moorhead was forced to coach against his old friend Rob White, the coach of archrival Severn for the past seven years.
But now, Moorhead doesn't have to worry about curbing his competitive nature, because he and White are again allies.
When the fifth-ranked Saints (11-5) face No. 1 Loyola (15-3) tonight for the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference title at UMBC Stadium, White and Moorhead will be alongside each other on the sidelines.
Both agree that they'll have their work cut out for them against the Dons.
"We're definitely the underdogs," said Moorhead, whose Saints were ranked No. 12 in preseason. "Loyola is playing the best lacrosse of anybody right now."
"Loyola is really hot," said White. "But, as recent games show, anybody can be beaten."
This is St. Mary's second trip to the championship game. The VTC Saints, who have made the playoffs five of the past six years, lost to St. Paul's in the final in 1991.
St. Mary's upset St. Paul's, 8-7, Tuesday to make this year's final. Loyola beat Boys' Latin, 11-6, in the other semifinal.
White and Moorhead grew up together in the Towson neighborhood of Rodgers Forge. The two played recreation league baseball, basketball and football together before going separate ways for high school and college.
White attended Boys' Latin, Hampden-Sydney and Salisbury State, and Moorhead went to Towson High, Virginia and Johns Hopkins.
The two were reunited in 1976, when they were hired as assistant coaches at Wroxeter, a private high school in Arnold.
When the school folded two years later, Moorhead was hired by St. Mary's as an assistant. A year later, he was made head coach.
White went on to graduate school, a three-year assistant coaching stint at Boys' Latin and three years at Navy Prep before landing the head coaching job at Severn in 1986.
"It was tough assuming two roles -- friends and competitors," said White, who now handles the St. Mary's offense. "Our relationship would get strained a little during game weeks."
Said Moorhead: "I'm a very competitive person, but when I was coaching against him, it took some of my competitiveness away because he's such a great friend."
White left Severn last year to take an administrative job at St. Mary's.
"He's a personable guy and able to joke around with the players," said Moorhead. "He's very concerned about them as young men -- not just as lacrosse players."
White says that he and Moorhead's friendship with each other, and with defensive coach Mike Codd, has rubbed off on the St. Mary's players.
"They see the three of us getting along so well and having fun," said White. "I would like to think that our relationship has something to do with the maturity of this team."