The top 9 high school football rivalries

Posted at 5:52 PM, Oct 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-13 17:52:47-04

CINCINNATI -- The Tri-State loves high school football, and fans live and die by their teams.

Obviously, such stringent loyalty lends itself to some serious rivalries. Some are based on geography, others have arisen out of league play, and others are just a result of some great games.

Here’s a look at nine of the most serious rivalries in Tri-State high school football:

St. Xavier and Colerain - Be it the regular season, the playoffs, or both, these two teams have met every year since 2005 for what's regularly named one of the best non-conference games around.

Both teams focus on defense and controlling the line of scrimmage, making this game a battle of wills. Year after year, these schools are two of the best in Division I in the state of Ohio.

Lakota West and Lakota East - These two Greater Miami Conference schools are located just six miles apart and, as their names suggest, they are the products of the Lakota High School split in 1997.

The mascot of Lakota High School was the Thunderbirds and now each of the current schools hold a part of that heritage -- the Thunderhawks and the Firebirds. Playoff implications are often added to the mix in this rivalry as it is annually the final regular season game for these two schools.

Covington Catholic and Highlands - The Bluebirds have dominated this rivalry as of late. However, during the 1990’s, the Northern Kentucky schools would usually meet twice, with their playoff matchup being one of the most anticipated in the state of Kentucky.

From 1992 to 2000, one of these two schools made it to the AAA state title game each year. Of those years, Highlands won five titles and Covington Catholic won three.

A bluebird, the Highlands mascot, whose image was circulated around social media amongst Covington Catholic students.

This rivalry can be seen on and off the field -- just check out social media.

Moeller and St. Xavier - This year will be the seventh in a row when one of these teams finished with at least a share of the GCL South championship; in the past ten years, they’ve each won two Division I state titles. Prior to this annual meeting, the schools hold big pep rallies to fuel the excitement leading up to the game.


You can find YouTube videos produced by the students for extra pre-game hype.

Newport Central Catholic and Beechwood - For years, these were two of the best teams in Class A in Kentucky and they would regularly meet in the regular season and again in the playoffs.

In 2007 realignment put these two schools in separate classes yet the game remains.  The rivalry is a bit friendlier these days as they play in the final week of the regular season as a final preparation for each team’s playoff run.

Little Miami and Kings - While this isn’t a match-up we have seen in recent years, this rivalry has a long history dating back over four decades.

Dubbed the “Battle for the Paddle” based on the location of both schools on the Little Miami River.

The winner of the matchup would claim a paddle -- decorated with each school’s colors on either side -- and each year the winner would put that year’s score on the winner's side of the paddle to hold until the following year’s game.

Turpin and Anderson - These Forest Hills district schools are just four miles apart, and players from both sides of this rivalry have played against each other as young kids.

The rivalry became even more intense in 2007 when Anderson beat Turpin in the playoffs before going on to win the Division II state title. However, the schools came together in an attempt to win new Nike uniforms by entering Nike's "high school rivalry" contest in 2011 (video submission below).

Dayton and Bellevue - This rivalry is one of the oldest in the country -- let alone the state of Kentucky -- and it pits district rivals against one another whose schools are less than two miles apart.  Both schools sit just off the southern shore of the Ohio River and it is also referred to as the “Battle for the Paddle.”

Even when these teams aren’t competing for a state title, winning this game can make or break morale for the season.

Mount Healthy and Northwest - These two schools have been near the top of the SWOC standings over the past few years. Their Week 10 meeting usually has implications for not only the SWOC title, but also playoff seeding.

With the schools being less than four miles apart, this rivalry pits neighbors against one another from a young age. is a media partner of WCPO - 9 On Your Side.