The 15th annual Skyline Crosstown Showdown has always added a significant amount of pizzazz to open the high school football season in Southwest Ohio.
This year is no different.
With a record 42 schools playing 21 games over a 10-day period, the Showdown continues to be recognized as the nation's biggest and longest running high school football showcase of its kind.
"It's hard to believe that we are already celebrating 15 years of the Showdown," said Tom Gamble, organizer of the event. "The only objective of the event is to showcase what we believe is the best high school football played anywhere in the country on a center stage."
While there are several key matchups in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, one of the top games will feature Cincinnati St. Xavier against Middletown at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 at the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium.
St. Xavier (10-4) was a Division I state semifinalist last season and the Bombers always have significant depth. The Bombers are coached by Steve Specht, who is the U.S. Under-19 national team coach this summer.
Senior-to-be wide receiver/athlete Trey Kilgore is one of the Bombers' top players. He has several significant scholarship offers including Cincinnati, Boston College and Kentucky.
Middletown features senior-to-be quarterback Jalin Marshall, who is verbally committed to Ohio State. Marshall, who committed to the Buckeyes on Jan. 30, led the Middies to a 10-2 record last season.
On the same night, Elder will play host to Centerville in the second of a two-year agreement between the schools in this event. Centerville offensive tackle Evan Lisle is verbally committed to Ohio State.
The game will be played this year at the famed ‘Pit' for a Cincinnati-Dayton showdown. Elder won last year's game 33-14.
On Saturday, Aug. 25, Colerain plays Division I state runner-up Pickerington Central at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium.
Colerain had a 10-2 record last season and returns several key players including senior-to-be running back Chris Davis and senior-to-be offensive lineman Dylan Wiesman – both of whom have scholarship offers.
Pickerington Central (11-3) is led by senior-to-be defensive end Taco Charlton, who is verbally committed to Michigan.
A marquee Sunday doubleheader Aug. 26 at Kings High School at the backdrop of Kings Island will get started with reigning Division II state champion Trotwood-Madison against University School (Fla.) at 3 p.m.
Trotwood (15-0) is led by senior-to-be cornerback Cam Burrows, who is verbally committed to Ohio State. Trotwood is coached by former NFL player Maurice Douglass. University School is 24-2 the past two seasons and was a Florida state runner-up in 2010 and a regional finalist in 2011.
The second game features Moeller against Gilman School from Baltimore, Md. Moeller (9-4), a Division I regional finalist last season, returns plenty of talent led by senior-to-be linebacker Shane Jones, who is verbally committed to Michigan State.
Seniors-to-be offensive lineman Alex Gall and running back Keith Watkins have multiple significant scholarship offers.
Gilman enters the season riding an eight-game winning streak after finishing 10-1 and winning the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. Gilman's lone loss was to Good Counsel (Md.) last season.2012 Showdown schedule (all times EST)Friday, Aug. 17At Dixie HeightsCampbell County (Alexandria, Ky.)
vs. Covington Catholic (Park Hills, Ky.)
, 6 p.m.Dixie Heights (Edgewood, Ky.)
vs. Newport Central Catholic (Newport, Ky.)
, 8:30 p.m.Wednesday, Aug. 22At ColerainReading (Ohio)
vs. Roger Bacon (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 5:30 p.m.Mt. Healthy (Cincinnati, Ohio)
vs. North College Hill (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 8 p.m.Thursday, Aug. 23At Sycamore
CHCA vs. Madeira (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 5:30 p.m.
Fenwick vs. Wyoming (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 8 p.m.Friday, Aug. 24At Nippert StadiumAnderson (Cincinnati, Ohio)
vs. Sycamore (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 6 p.m.Middletown (Middletown, Ohio)
vs. St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 8:30 p.m.At Sheakley Athletic ComplexFinneytown (Cincinnati, Ohio)
vs. Northwest (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 7 p.m.At ElderCenterville (Centerville, Ohio)
at Elder (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 7:30 p.m.At Simon KentonBeechwood (Fort Mitchell, Ky.)
vs. Simon Kenton (Independence, Ky.)
, 6 p.m.Cooper (Burlington, Ky.)
vs. Holy Cross (Covington, Ky.)
, 8:30 p.m.Saturday, Aug. 25At Nippert StadiumOak Hills (Cincinnati, Ohio)
vs. Walnut Hills (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 3 p.m.Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio)
vs. Pickerington Central (Pickerington, Ohio)
, 5:30 p.m.Lakota West (West Chester, Ohio)
vs. La Salle (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 8 p.m.At Welcome StadiumHamilton (Hamilton, Ohio)
vs. Springfield (Akron, Ohio)
, noonNorthmont (Clayton, Ohio)
vs. Princeton (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 2:45 p.m.Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio)
vs. Winton Woods (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 5:30 p.m.
Dayton Dunbar vs. Valley View, 8:15 p.m.Sunday, Aug. 26At Kings High SchoolTrotwood-Madison (Trotwood, Ohio)
vs. University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
, 3 p.m.Gilman (Baltimore, Md.)
vs. Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio)
, 7 p.m.