Colerain and La Salle discuss extending series through 2018 and beyond

GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The Colerain and La Salle athletic departments are discussing a home-and-home football series through the 2018 season, WCPO has learned.

Colerain and La Salle are scheduled to play in Week 1 of this upcoming football season (Friday, Aug. 25) as part of the 20th annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown.

However, as WCPO first reported Monday night, new NCAA rules prevent the Showdown games from being at Nippert Stadium. The season opener for both teams is now scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 25 at Lancer Stadium on La Salle's campus, according to La Salle Athletic Director Keith Pantling.

Showdown organizer Tom Gamble said an official announcement on the location of all six games previously scheduled for Nippert Stadium will be the afternoon of July 24. Gamble met with area athletic directors Wednesday and has another meeting planned for Thursday morning in his Kenwood office.

Pantling told WCPO Wednesday afternoon the home-and-home agreement with Colerain and La Salle for 2017 and 2018 is "highly likely taking place."

The 2018 game at Colerain would be Week 1, Pantling said.

"Discussions are happening to further extend the annual neighborhood game," Pantling told WCPO.

Colerain Athletic Director Craig Ulland, who is starting his first year at the school, said the two programs are having initial discussions at this time.

The 2016 game at Colerain was the final of a home-and-home agreement that started in 2015. Both schools -- separated by four miles -- agreed in September 2016 to play the 2017 game on a one-year agreement in the Showdown.

La Salle (13-2), the reigning three-time Division II state champions, is just the ninth Ohio school to win at least three consecutive state titles and the first locally since Moeller (1975-77).

La Salle features several key returning players including senior quarterback Griffin Merritt, senior tight end Josh Whyle, who is verbally committed to the University of Cincinnati, along with senior linebacker Zach Rumpke and junior linebackers Brody Ingle and Garrett Bledsoe.

Colerain (11-1) has eight returning starters on offense including senior quarterback Gunnar Leyendecker and junior quarterback/athlete Deante Smith. Colerain also returns wide receiver Ja'von Hicks (UC commit) along with senior linebacker Daniel Bolden and junior linebacker Ivan Pace.

"It's what the fans and the community want to see," Colerain coach Tom Bolden told WCPO in May. "Let's give it to them."

Colerain defeated visiting La Salle 6-0 in 2016 and leads the all-time series with La Salle 12-10.

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