CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Six defending state champions from four states are set to kick off their respective title defenses in the 2018 Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown presented by First Financial Bank, Mercy Health Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, and Meijer.
The complete 2018 Showdown schedule, which accompanies this release, was announced at noon today by In-Game Sports, the event owner and manager, via the event’s social media platforms. The announcement was produced at the video studios of ESP Media in Kenwood.
In all, the Showdown will enter its third decade as the largest and longest running high school football showcase in the United States – with 44 schools playing 22 games in a new and expanded format that will feature marquee games every Friday night all season, from August 17 through October 26 – a period of 11 weeks that encompasses the entire regular season.
Participating Showdown schools comprise top prep football programs from Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus in Ohio, Northern Kentucky, Southeast Indiana and Illinois. The defending state champions in the event are Pickerington Central (Division I winner) and Trotwood-Madison (DIII), Ohio; Beechwood (Class A) and Covington Catholic (5A), Kentucky; East Central (4A), Indiana; and Wendell Phillips Academy from Chicago (5A), Illinois.
The 2018 Showdown again will serve as the official kickoff to high school football in the region – beginning with games involving schools from Southeast Indiana and Northern Kentucky on Friday, August 17. East Central (12-3) hosts rival Lawrenceburg (11-2) at 7:30 that evening, while Covington Catholic (15-0) puts its winning streak on the line when it travels to Union to take on Ryle (8-3), which has posted a 20-4 record the last two seasons. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
Five days later, Cincinnati Public School members Withrow and Woodward meet in the Ohio Kickoff set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22 at Withrow’s historic Angus King Stadium. Two more games are scheduled the following night on Thursday, August 23, with Taft hosting Thurgood Marshall at the school’s Stargel Stadium, and Anderson meeting Mt. Healthy at Princeton High School’s Mancuso Field at Viking Stadium. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.
The Showdown tradition of a huge opening Friday night continues August 24, with five games scheduled. In Kentucky, Beechwood begins its quest for a three-peat when it hosts Lloyd Memorial at 7:30 p.m. in Fort Mitchell. The Tigers have won 24 of their last 26 games.
In Greater Cincinnati, the annual Colerain-La Salle neighborhood rivalry is one of four big games that will kick off the opening weekend in the Buckeye state. Colerain (11-3) advanced to the DI state semifinals last season, while La Salle (10-3) made it to the DII regional final. In an outstanding East-side rivalry, Loveland travels to Sycamore Stadium that night to take on the Aviators – who have made it to the second round of the DI playoffs the last two seasons.
Milford, fresh off its first state playoff trip in 30 years in the first season under coach Tom Grippa, meets Princeton and second-year coach Mike Daniels at Viking Stadium, while Trotwood-Madison (15-0) looks for a second straight state title when the Rams play at Winton Woods (13-2), which advanced to the DII state title game in 2017. Kickoff is 7 that evening.
The opening Ohio weekend actually extends to Sunday, August 26 and a matchup of defending state champions to be televised nationally as part of the ESPN High School Football Kickoff. DI Ohio state champion Pickerington Central (14-1), located in Greater Columbus, meets highly regarded Phillips Academy (14-0) from Chicago, which has won two of the last three Illinois Class 5A state titles, at 12:30 p.m. at Otterbein University’s Memorial Stadium in Westerville.
The Showdown continues the following Friday, August 31 with Kings at Lakota East in an Eastern Cincinnati Conference versus Greater Miami Conference matchup, respectively. Two of the region’s premier small-school programs are featured on September 7, when Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy travels to oppose Wyoming. CHCA is 30-6 the last three seasons, while Wyoming is 32-5 – including perfect regular seasons in 2016 and 2017.
Another rival game, also a key ECC matchup, is set for September 14 when Turpin plays at West Clermont – which capped its inaugural season by earning a DI playoff berth. Two Showdown games are set for September 21, with Lakota West hosting Oak Hills in an early key GMC game, and Centerville traveling to Springboro in a matchup between Greater Western Ohio Conference teams that made the playoffs. Another huge rivalry highlights the Showdown on September 28 when Mariemont hosts Indian Hill in a pivotal Cincinnati Hills League game.
A classic Greater Catholic League South Division game between Elder and Moeller is one of two Showdown games on October 5. Elder is looking for a return to postseason play after missing qualifying by a percentage of computer points last year, while Moeller is beginning the Doug Rosfeld era as the Crusaders’ alum takes over the program. Little Miami makes its
Showdown debut that same night, when the Panthers travel to Harrison for a Southwest Ohio Conference game. Harrison is coming off consecutive DII state playoff appearances.
The last three weeks of the regular season feature games in Dayton, Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati as part of the Showdown. On October 12, another GWOC matchup takes center stage as Miamisburg visits Lebanon. Boone County rivals Conner and Cooper square off on October 19 in Union, with the two schools having split the last two meetings.
On October 26, the final night of the regular season in both Ohio and Kentucky, Cincinnati St. Xavier will welcome Louisville St. Xavier to Ballaban Field for what usually serves as a tune-up for the respective state playoffs. The two teams posted a combined 23-5 record in 2017.
SHOWDOWN TICKET INFORMATION/WEBSITE
Tickets to all Showdown games can be purchased in advance of game day at the participating schools. Fans should contact their favorite school for current ticket office hours and prices.
A new website, xtownshowdown.com, will go live at noon Wednesday. Fans are encouraged to check out the site all season for updated event information, including game previews, Showdown partner contests and promotions, and updates on participating schools and teams.
For more information about the Showdown, contact Tom Gamble at In-Game Sports, which owns and manages the event, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-655-4066, ext. 103.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 17
(East Central High School)
(Ryle High School)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22
(Withrow High School)
THURSDAY, AUGUST 23
(Princeton High School)
(Stargel Stadium, Taft High School)
FRIDAY, AUGUST 24
(Beechwood High School)
(Colerain High School)
(Princeton High School)
(Winton Woods High School)
SUNDAY, AUGUST 26
(Otterbein University, Columbus)
FRIDAY, AUGUST 31
(Lakota East High School)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
(Wyoming High School)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
(West Clermont High School)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
(Lakota West High School)
(Springboro High School)
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
(Mariemont High School)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5
(Harrison High School)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12
(Lebanon Junior High School)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19
(Cooper High School)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26
(St. Xavier High School)