There are so many interesting storylines going into Friday nights MIAA-A conference championship game between Boys’ Latin and Calvert Hall.
One being, the last time the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A-conference championship game was held at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium, the Lakers won the A-crown.
Or, that Calvert Hall is continuing the trend of repeated trips to the conference championship in back to back seasons.
But the one that sticks out to me and will have my interest throughout the game is the one involving Michael and Gene Ubriaco.
Gene Ubriaco has been a fixture on the Boys’ Latin sidelines as an assistant coach for a very long time, since 1997 to be exact. He’s helped coach so many great teams and he’s coached so many tremendous student athletes, including head coach Brian Farrell.
But after tonight, Ubriaco will move on to become the next head coach at Loyola Blakefield.
His son Michael, now a senior, has been on the varsity all four years at BL. The athletic longpole has had the unique opportunity to play in front of his father as one of his coaches. Michael is Villanova bound this fall.
But what an amazing way to finish out a great high school career, then to win a championship with his father.
“The MIAA championship is something I’ll always remember. While the first championship I participated in did not end the way I had hoped for, that doesn’t take away from the incredible stage it was,” said Ubriaco who was apart of the Boys’ Latin team that fell in the championship game two seasons ago to McDonogh. “It is not everyday you get to compete for a high school championship in a league that is the best in the country for its sport, and the filled stadium reflects that.”
Michael has a point there, this will be a great championship. Both teams are coming into the contest red hot.
Calvert Hall (15–3) has won six straight since losing to the Lakers at the end of April. The Cardinals who put up five points against Boys’ Latin have outscored their opponents 81–42.
As for the Lakers (14–4), they’ve won five consecutive games. But entered the postseason with a little extra sizzle, if you will. Ubriaco and the BL defense and goalie Chris Brandau were able to hold both St. Mary’s and McDonogh to just five points. And the faceoff unit has improved as well for coach Farrell’s team. Sophomore Payton Gilberson helped the Lakers on Tuesday in their victory against the Eagles by winning 11 of 16 faceoffs.
“Coach Farrell is a phenomenal lacrosse coach,” said Ubriaco who has learned a lot from the All-American defenseman from Maryland and a Laker alum. “He has a great head for the game and knows how to put his players in situations to succeed. However, what I enjoy most about playing for Coach Farrell is how much he cares about our team. It is easy to see how hard coach works for us through extensive scouting reports he emails us before each game. The amount of work he puts in for us is inspiring in itself. It is easy to wanna give all you have while on the field knowing your head coach is doing the same for you. Also, Coach Farrell played the same position as I do and in very similar ways. He has been able to show me a few tricks up his sleeve on how to be the most impactful LSM I can be.”
This is a strong Lakers team that is built on a solid defense, a good midfield unit and a high-powered shooting offense that can score anywhere.”
“While I think my previous three years on the varsity team have been incredibly memorable times in my life, this year has had a special place in my heart as it is my class’s last chance at the title, said Michael. “We have come close to the title the last couple of years but unfortunately fell just short of our goal each time.
This year has been extra unique for me personally as it is not just my last year playing for Boys’ Latin but also being my father’s last year coaching. I really hope we can come out on top after my classmate’s and father’s last game wearing maroon and white.”
Gene has been on the Lakers varsity staff for over 20 seasons. He bleeds maroon and white. The passion he has for the school and the program is evident in how he coaches on the sideline. When you see him outside of the school he’s still decked out in Lakers gear. It’s going to be a real eye opener next season when he’s sporting the Loyola Blakefield blue and yellow.
The chance to be a head coach has always been a desire for Gene. He was even heavily considered when Boys’ Latin was in search for legendary head coach Bob Shriver’s successor.
But the one thing that has also been evident watching Gene throughout the last four seasons his how much he loves watching his son play from a great vantage point.
“Mike’s been a 4 year starter for BL, hes had 32 goals for his career which is a record for BL defensive players. He has 12 goals this year and over 70GBs and 15 caused turnovers.
He was second team all metro last year and All MIAA last year. Going to Villanova to join his sister next year who is a sophomore there.
Played for both Bobby Shriver and Farrell…only he and Matt Brandau have done that on our team. Was a member of Baltimore UA team last summer. Member of National Honor Society at BL and about to begin his senior internship with East Coast Dyes. Played for Crabs lacrosse club for 6 years.”
If BL comes away with the championship tonight it will be comforting to know both Michael and Gene finished their time with the Lakers as champions.
“Playing for my dad the last couple of seasons is something i’ll always be thankful for. While we are on opposites sides of the ball which mean he is not always coaching me directly, I will always cherish the memories we have had the last four years. A lot of coach’s sons would say that they do not like having a family member around them on the sports field, but I couldn’t disagree more. When my dad told me he was taking the Loyola job I was very proud of him. I know he has been well deserving of a head coaching job for years now and now that he finally is able to get is opportunity due to me leaving BL I couldn’t be happier for him.”
“Michael and Gene are two fantastic Lakers who have impacted our program in so many ways,” said Farrell. “They are Lacrosse fanatics who bring a creative approach to they way they play and coach. We are so fortunate to have had their leadership and passion this entire spring.”
Here’s a quote from coach Bob Shriver on both Gene and Michael Ubriaco…
“I have a special relationship with Gene as his former teacher and coach and someone I coached with for almost 20 years and is now a dear friend. We’ve been in many unbelivable Lacrosse games together-literally hundreds. Then to teach, advise, and coach, albeit for only one year, his son Michael only adds to the relationship. I’ve loved watching Michael from afar since retiring and feel he’s playing fantastic Lacrosse as his career nears its end.”