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From mascot to quarterback: Junior rallies HS football team to victory … after beginning season in Bulldog costume

Oct 19, 2012, 4:11 PM EDT


Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Lexington, KY) was suffering through a five-year, 20-game football home losing streak, and an 11-game loss streak to rival Henry Clay. But on Thursday that all ended when Dunbar pulled out a 22-19 win against Clay, powered by two fourth-quarter touchdowns from quarterback Trent Bauer.

Unlikely doesn’t begin to describe this. And that’s because at the start of the season, Bauer was the team’s mascot. And up until two weeks ago, he was the ball boy.

Yes, Bauer began the season wearing the Bulldog mascot costume for games. But after he watched his classmates play for a couple of weeks, he decided he wanted to actually join the team — even though he hadn’t donned shoulder pads since he was 10 years old.

His coach, ex-Kentucky linebacker Derrick Thomas, approved it, but the district has a 10-day waiting period before a new signup can pay in a game. So Bauer served two games as the ballboy. After excelling as QB in a junior varsity game, coaches gave him the starting nod for the varsity team.

When Dunbar played Henry Clay last Thursday, Bauer suited up as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback — wearing jersey No. 12 — and threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally his team to a 22-19 upset victory.

The game-winner came on a 50-yard pass from Bauer to Emory Thompson with eight seconds left, and ended a five-year, 20-game losing skid in the city, and an 11-game losing streak to Henry Clay.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I didn’t think this would ever happen in my lifetime.”

Movie starring Keanu Reeves most surely in the works.

Even though he’s given up his mascot duty for now, Bauer said he’ll be back in the Bulldog costume for basketball season.

In the meantime, Thomas said Dunbar faces another challenge: “We’ve got to find a backup mascot,” he said with a laugh.


  1. albertmn - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    5 year, 20 game losing streak? Do they only play 4 games a season? That seems really odd.

    • sean1525 - Oct 20, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      Maybe there has been an update since you posted this, but it says 5 year, 20 game HOME losing streak – which makes alot more sense.

    • gibbstastic - Oct 20, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      “…five-year, 20-game football home losing streak.”

      So, 4 home games a year in an 8 game season.