How play called 'Cheesesteak' lifted Bullitt East past Male for first state football title

LEXINGTON, Ky. — They call it “Cheesesteak,” a nod to the “Philly Special” trick play used successfully by the Philadelphia Eagles in their Super Bowl LII victory.

After the Bullitt East High School football team copied it Saturday to capture its first state championship, they’ll be talking about it in Mount Washington until the end of time.

Nolan Davenport’s pass to Travis Egan capped the 2-point conversion play that gave the Chargers a 28-27 victory over Male in the Class 6A championship game.

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A crowd of 9,331 at the University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field saw Bullitt East (14-1) finish its season with a 14-game winning streak.

“It felt like a movie going into that,” Egan said. “We’re really throwing a double pass on a 2-point conversion to win a state championship? Let’s do it.

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“It went exactly as planned, and the rest is history.”

Down 14-0 after 56 seconds and 24-14 after three quarters, Bullitt East rallied to become just the second school from outside of Louisville to win the Class 6A championship. Scott County beat Meade County 21-14 in the 2013 final.

“Our community deserved this and needed this,” first-year coach Keegan Kendrick said. “I’m excited our kids are the ones able to give this to them. It’s pretty special.”

Bullitt East’s Travis Egan celebrates scoring a two-point conversion against Male.Dec. 3, 2022
Bullitt East’s Travis Egan celebrates scoring a two-point conversion against Male.Dec. 3, 2022

Lance Gossett’s 25-yard field goal gave Male (10-5) a 27-20 lead and had the Bulldogs just 103 seconds away from their ninth state title and first since 2018 after losing three straight finals from 2019-21.

But Egan needed just 50 seconds to march the Chargers 80 yards for the game-winning score, completing five straight passes along the way. Egan’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Camron Brogan pulled Bullitt East within 27-26 with 53 seconds remaining.

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The Chargers immediately lined up to go for 2 before Male called a timeout.

“I told my coaches, ‘Please, God, if this doesn’t work, please forgive me,’” Kendrick said.

Egan took the shotgun snap and handed off to Brogan, who was sprinting from his slot receiver position on the left side. Brogan nearly was tackled for a loss but got off a pitch to Davenport, who was sprinting left from his wide receiver spot on the right side.

Bullitt East’s Travis Egan celebrates scoring a two-point conversion against Male.Dec. 3, 2022
Bullitt East’s Travis Egan celebrates scoring a two-point conversion against Male.Dec. 3, 2022

Davenport got to the left side of the field and made a left-handed pass to Egan in the end zone for the 2-pointer and a 28-27 lead.

“It wasn’t a tight spiral or anything,” Davenport said, “but I got it to where it needed to be. It’s amazing.”

Egan finished his senior season with 2,935 passing yards and 35 touchdown passes but sealed Bullitt East’s first state title with a reception.

“He’ll win a game however we need him to,” Kendrick said. “He did that today.”

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Kendrick said the Chargers started practicing “Cheesesteak” three weeks ago and did so again Saturday morning before making the trip from Mount Washington to Lexington.

Davenport said he wasn’t nervous about making the throw.

“We started out with (running back Mason Gauthier) throwing it and then Camron and then me,” Davenport said. “They thought I had the best opportunity. … I was excited because I wanted to go for 2.”

Added Kendrick: “Nolan Davenport has been begging me to allow him to throw the ball at some point this year.”

Male had a final possession and drove to the Bullitt East 42-yard line with 32 seconds left. On third down, Male quarterback Lucas Cobler scrambled and was ultimately sacked by Egan. With the Bulldogs out of timeouts, the final seconds ran off the clock and the Chargers began to celebrate.

“I don’t know if you can say there’s any kids tougher in the state and have more stamina in the state than our guys,” Kendrick said. “I’m just so dang proud of them. I’m just lucky I get to coach them.”

BULLITT EAST    0            14          0            14  - 28

MALE                  14          0            10          3 - 27

First quarter

M – Max Gainey 74 pass from Lucas Cobler (Lance Gossett kick)

M – Korrey Mattingly 16 fumble return (Gossett kick)

Second quarter

BE – Camron Brogan 73 pass from Travis Egan (Colin Elder kick)

BE – Mason Gauthier 12 pass from Egan (Elder kick)

Third quarter

M – Gossett 37 FG

M – Andrew Vrbancic 27 pass from Cobler (Gossett kick)

Fourth quarter

BE – Nolan Davenport 15 pass from Egan (kick failed)

M – Gossett 25 FG

BE – Brogan 16 pass from Egan (Egan pass from Davenport)

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; jfrakes@courier-journal.com; Twitter: @kyhighs.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: KHSAA football: Bullitt East beats Male in Class 6A final