High school football will return this season to Paul Brown Stadium.
The season opener Aug. 24 between St. Xavier and Lakota West will be the first high school football game played at Paul Brown Stadium since 2008, according to a Wednesday press release from the Cincinnati Bengals.
In 2008, it was Wyoming against Mariemont and Taylor versus Indian Hill, but this season, after Nippert Stadium was no longer available due to revised NCAA legislation, St. Xavier and Lakota West needed a neutral site to host them.
Tom Gamble, owner of In-Game Sports and the event organizer of the Crosstown Showdown, helped coordinate with the Bengals and Hamilton County to make the game possible.
“We are very humbled to play at Paul Brown Stadium,” St. Xavier head football coach Steve Specht said in the release. “The opportunity for any student-athlete to compete in a professional environment is priceless. The memories these young men make will last a lifetime. We appreciate Mr. Brown and the entire Bengals organization for making this a reality.”
Lakota West athletic director Scott Kaufman said: “What an amazing opportunity for our kids and community. These are the kinds of memories that last a lifetime for kids and their families. We are grateful to the Cincinnati Bengals and Hamilton County for making this possible. I also appreciate the help and support Tom Gamble provided in guiding us through this process and I am thrilled that Lakota West and St. X will both still be able to be a part of the Crosstown Showdown later in the 2018 football season.”
There’s a long history of high school football at Paul Brown Stadium and both the Bengals and Hamilton Country are excited it’s making a return.
Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburn said, “It’s great to be able to host these kinds of events at PBS – great for the players, families and fans. Paul Brown Stadium has hosted many great high school games and this matchup should be fun to watch.”
Hamilton County Board of Commissioners President Todd Portune added: “Hamilton County always welcomes the use of PBS for high school football and is happy that the taxpayers, players, families and fans have an opportunity to enjoy this fun and exciting event.”
Some of the biggest games ever at Paul Brown Stadium date back almost two decades. According to the Bengals, the Elder-Highlands game in 2000 drew more than 30,000 fans and the OHSAA playoff doubleheader in 2001 between St. Xavier-Princeton and Colerain-Elder attracted more than 47,000 fans.