LEXINGTON, Ky (WKYT) - Five years and 20 games. The Dunbar Bulldogs losing streak against city teams had only increased over the years. The losing skid was even longer against city power house Henry Clay. Derrick Thomas was hired by Dunbar high school a season ago with the task of turning around a football program. His first task was finding a quarterback to lead the team.
This season coach Thomas and the Bulldogs were in the midst of a 4-game losing skid, and looking for an answer to their offensive struggles... and that answer was closer than expected. That's when Trent Bauer went from Bulldog to top dog.
"You know a guy that comes from the sidelines, a mascot, never really played any varsity sports and now he's like the team hero, said Thomas. "So you couldn't write a script better than that".
"The one quarterbacking experience I had when I was 10 went really bad so I just never really thought about playing again," said Bauer.
After beginning the season as the team mascot, and watching his school struggle from the sidelines, Bauer thought he'd give football a try...
"I love football, I've never really played but I've just loved it and I had friends on the team that they were like maybe you should come tryout for quarterback and I was like yeah I'll give it a shot."
"I was like well, let's go ahead and take this leap of faith and see if he can go in there and get the job done," said Thomas.
Bauer would make his first start against Henry Clay, and with the team down by five and 2 minutes to play, what came next would be known as the mascot miracle. A 50 yard touchdown pass to take the lead, 22-19.
"It was amazing but just to see the seniors and see the tears on their faces and how much joy it brought them, that made my day," said Bauer.
The only thing missing that night was a mascot cheering on the sidelines. That spot remains vacant, with some pretty big shoes, or paws to fill.
"Looks like your going to have to find a back up mascot," said Thomas. "Because he's going to be playing quarterback from here on out."