Wilmington High School senior Chris Stewart was the winner of the 48th Clinton County Vince Lombardi Down Lineman of the Year Award.

The announcement came Monday night in the McCoy Room on the Wilmington College campus. Monday’s event was the first in four years for the Clinton County Lombardi Award.

Stewart was named the top lineman in the county among seven nominees that include Blanchester’s Tristen Malone and Jude Huston, Clinton-Massie’s Elijah Groh and Justin Beckett, and East Clinton’s Denver Day and Alex Edison.

East Clinton High School principal Mike Adams delivered the keynote address at the event. He is believed to be the first former winner to be the keynote speaker. Adams won the award in 1991 as a member of the Wilmington High School football team.

The Lombardi Award was last presented in 2019 to Davis Wulf of Clinton-Massie, who is currently attending Army West Point. He played football there two years.

This year’s banquet was a re-boot of the long-running program that honors the outstanding down linemen on Clinton County’s four high school football teams.

Proceeds from this year’s event will fund the Clinton County Scholar-Athlete Award which has been presented each spring since 2012 to deserving student-athletes at Wilmington, Blanchester, Clinton-Massie and East Clinton.

The Lombardi Award, also presented at the collegiate level, is named after the legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, who died from cancer in 1970. Clinton County started its version of the event in 1973 spearheaded by the late Clarence Graham (former News Journal sports editor at the time) and the late Harold Losey (local businessman who started Losey’s Pharmacy).

The college Lombardi Award was established in 1970 by the Rotary Club of Houston with the blessing of the Lombardi family shortly after coach Lombardi’s death. The Texas award has raised millions of dollars for cancer research since its inception. Orlando Pace of Ohio State is the only college player to win the award two times.