The Rivalry: St. Xavier vs. Elder

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

October 4, 2013: The parking lot of St. Xavier High School is jam-packed more than an hour before the Bombers face the Panthers in their annual fall contest. This rivalry, a backbone of Cincinnati high school football, dates to the early 1920s. Fans clutch plastic cups and gather around open truck beds while boys toss footballs and girls paint each other’s faces. Field lights click on at 7 p.m. as the sun dips below the western bleachers, and the crowd finally trickles into the stadium. Thirty minutes later, 7:30 p.m. on the nose, it’s standing room only as those lights pierce through the darkness, and a football is kicked end over end into the clear autumn sky.

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