Former mascot Trent Bauer leads high school football team to comeback victory
In Kentucky, mascots are more than just people dressed in animal suits that entertain an audience. They’re heros. When Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School opened its football season earlier this year, junior Trent Bauer served as the teams Bulldog mascot. He began wearing the costume last winter during basketball season, and his duties carried over into the fall. Last Thursday, Bauer led the Bulldogs to a 21-19 comeback victory as the team’s quarterback.
Wearing jersey No. 12, Bauer threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lead Dunbar to an upset win over Henry Clay — a team that had beaten Dunbar 11 straight times.
“It’s amazing,” Bauer told The Lexington Herald-Leader. “I didn’t think this would ever happen in my lifetime.”
Bauer connected with receiver Emory Thompson for a game-winning 50-yard touchdown with only eight seconds remaining. Thompson had previously been the team’s quarterback out of necessity, but his natural position is wide receiver.
“You couldn’t write a movie script better than that,” Bulldogs head coach Derrick Thomas said. “We were down the whole game, made a comeback, then won in the last seconds with a quarterback who was the mascot at the beginning of the year.”
Bauer hadn’t played football since he was 10, but he approached Thomas after the Bulldogs’ season opener to ask him about the possibility of joining the team. The former mascot was worried that the coach may not want him on the team since he didn’t participate in any preseason practices or activities, but Thomas clearly made the right call in welcoming him aboard.
“I felt really good for my teammates,” Bauer said after the win. “They’re the ones who’d been out here practicing day in and day out, and hadn’t won a city game in five years. It was for them.”