George Rise, longtime football coach at Blanchester and Goshen high schools, and most recently a representative on the Southwest District Board of Control, will be the keynote speaker for the 43rd annual Vince Lombardi Outstanding Down Lineman of the year award for Clinton County.
“George has been a strong supporter of the Lombardi event, not only during his tenure as the head coach of the Wildcats, but later while on the Southwest District board he was able to secure current OHSAA Commissioner Dr. Dan Ross as keynote speaker for a previous awards dinner,” Lombardi award event chairman Bill Liermann said.
In addition, nominees from the 4 county schools have been announced. They are Matt Burden and Jed Turpin from Blanchester; J.P. Cantrell and Jake Garrison from Clinton-Massie; Travis Knell and Derick Luttrell from East Clinton; and Briten Kessler and Zane Stevens from Wilmington.
This year’s event will be held Dec. 15 at the Clinton County Fairgrounds Expo Center, said Liermann. Starting time is 6:30 p.m.
Eight football players, two offensive or defensive down linemen from each of the Clinton County high school teams, are nominated by their respective coaches for the honor. The winner receives the coveted block of granite award, which is similar to the one awarded to the top collegiate lineman each year.
The event was started by the American Cancer Society shortly after the death of Vince Lombardi, legendary NFL coach of the Green Bay Packers and at the time of his death, the Washington Redskins.
Lombardi passed away in September 1970. Clinton County’s involvement with the award started in 1973, when former Wilmington News Journal sports editor Clarence Graham and local businessman Harold Losey served as the co-chairpersons. At that time, the event was held at the Bengal Room at Duff’s Restaurant and was later held at the Wilmington Elks Lodge 797 and Roberts Arena, until moving to the Expo Center in recent years.
Those attending will receive a buffet meal from McCoy’s Catering. Each of the four booster clubs from the Clinton County schools, plus Beacon Orthopedics and Drayer Physical Therapy, assist in underwriting the cost of the meals for the players, coaches and their families.
“Without the support from the booster clubs and the assistance from Beacon and Drayer since they arrived here in Wilmington, it would not be possible to continue this event like we have done in the past,” Liermann said.
The public is welcome to attend and can purchase a dinner ticket for $15.