CINCINNATI - La Salle football coach Jim Hilvert always looks forward to the start of the season and the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown.
For coaches, players, fans and the media it’s an annual rite of August in some ways.
The highly anticipated Showdown, which is presented by Mercy Health Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Meijer and Dr. Pepper, is in its 19th season.
There are 38 schools playing 19 games from Aug. 19 to Sept. 2 in the nation’s longest-running high school football showcase, organized by Tom Gamble.
“The Showdown going on for 19 years brings excitement throughout the city of Cincinnati because people know the opening of the high school season is upon us,” Hilvert told WCPO.com. “There also have been great matchups through the years with some unbelievable football games. It is a great tradition for Cincinnati high school football.”
Twenty-two of the Showdown teams qualified for the state playoffs last season.
A four-day stretch that features nine games at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium and Sheakley Athletics Center highlights this year’s schedule.
The Ohio portion of the schedule starts Aug. 24 when Purcell Marian plays Summit Country Day at 7:30 p.m. at the Sheakley Athletics Center.
Indian Hill plays New Richmond at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, followed by a doubleheader involving Cincinnati Hills League schools Friday, Aug. 26. Wyoming plays North College Hill at 6 p.m., followed by Reading against Roger Bacon at 8:30 p.m.
Newport Central Catholic, the 2A state runner-up in Kentucky in 2015, plays at Cooper at 7:30 p.m. also on Aug. 26.
Five games in two days at Nippert Stadium kick off with a Greater Catholic League South division versus Greater Miami Conference doubleheader Friday, Aug. 26.
La Salle, the two-time reigning Division II state champion, plays Sycamore at 6 p.m., followed by Moeller against Lakota West at 8:30 p.m.
Moeller coach John Rodenberg echoed Hilvert’s sentiment and said he also doesn’t have to worry about scheduling a Week 1 opponent each season.
Moeller has been invited to various showcase events for its season opener in Tennessee, Kentucky and New Jersey. Each time, Moeller opts for the Showdown.
“The guys get geared up for the Showdown,” Rodenberg said. “I think it’s great.”
On Saturday, Aug. 27, Colerain, St. Xavier and Elder will be challenged by powers from Indianapolis, California and Columbus.
Colerain, which is the likely No. 1 preseason favorite in Cincinnati, plays Warren Central at 1 p.m. at Nippert Stadium. The Cardinals were 12-2 and return several key players from the state semifinalist squad.
Colerain defeated Warren Central 27-16 last season in the Showdown.
St. Xavier will play St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) at 5 p.m. in a game that will be nationally televised live on ESPNU.
“I love what Tom does,” St. X coach Steve Specht said. “He’s a good friend. We appreciate being in the Showdown. We are excited about an opening game with St. John Bosco out of Los Angeles.”
St. John Bosco was ranked No. 4 nationally by USA Today last season and is the first California team to play in the Showdown.
Elder plays Pickerington Central at 8 p.m., also at Nippert Stadium.
Tickets to all Showdown games can be purchased in advance of game day at the participating schools. Starting Aug. 1, fans can also visit skylinecrosstownshowdown.com for tickets.
2016 Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown schedule
FRIDAY, AUG. 19
Campbell County (1-10 in 2015) at East Central (12-3), 7:30 p.m.
Walton-Verona (6-6) at Lloyd (9-4), 7 p.m.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 24
Purcell Marian (3-7) vs. Summit Country Day (4-6), 7:30 p.m. at Sheakley
THURSDAY, AUG. 25
Covington Catholic (5-8) vs. Oak Hills (1-9), 7 p.m. at Mount St. Joseph
Indian Hill (11-1) vs. New Richmond (7-4), 7 p.m. at Sheakley
FRIDAY, AUG. 26
North College Hill (4-6) vs. Wyoming (8-3), 6 p.m. at Sheakley
Reading (9-2) vs. Roger Bacon (3-7), 8:30 p.m. at Sheakley
La Salle (13-2) vs. Sycamore (4-6), 6 p.m. at Nippert
Lakota West (7-3) vs. Moeller (5-5), 8:30 p.m. at Nippert
Newport Central Catholic (10-4) at Cooper (10-3), 7:30 p.m.
Loveland (6-4) at Lakota East (3-7), 7 p.m.
Hamilton (4-6) at Milford (4-6), 7 p.m.
Glen Este (8-3) at Princeton (3-7), 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, AUG. 27
Colerain (12-2) vs. Warren Central (8-4), 1 p.m. at Nippert
St. John Bosco, Calif. (13-1) vs. St. Xavier (7-5), 5 p.m. at Nippert
Elder (9-4) vs. Pickerington Central (8-3), 8 p.m. at Nippert
FRIDAY, SEPT. 2
McNicholas (5-5) at Anderson (1-9), 7 p.m.
Mount Healthy (8-4) at Bishop Fenwick (13-1), 7 p.m.
Mason (8-3) at Withrow (4-6), 7 p.m.
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