Just as Lafayette was getting used to some success in the football playoffs the last couple of years, it ran up against Male, a program with one of the grandest post-season traditions in Kentucky.
Male, No. 25 in the state, beat the No. 21 Generals 17-3 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs on Friday night.
The Bulldogs, a six-time state champion, advance to the second round for the 22nd year in a row.
Male did it with defense. It kept Lafayette's playmakers in check and kept the Generals from scoring a touchdown for the first time this year.
The Bulldogs pressured Lafayette quarterback Garrett Peavler, especially on critical downs, and recorded a half-dozen sacks.
Peavler completed eight of 23 passes for just 83 yards.
""We were very, very concerned because we have not had a great pass defense," Male Coach Chris Wolfe said. "Lexington Catholic ate us up. Eastern ate us up. St. X and Trinity, too.
"But we had a scheme to try put some pressure on the quarterback, take away (Tranard Chester's) touches, and make somebody else beat us. For the most part it worked pretty well."
Chester, the Generals' star senior receiver, had one catch for 12 yards.
Kylan Nelson was Lafayette's best weapon. The junior speedster rushed for 98 yards, and had 106 yards in kick returns, but he couldn't break the big play, either.
Lafayette did have its chances, however, especially in the first half.
It had the ball inside the Male 10-yard line twice, but could only cash in on Nathan Gillespie's 28-yard field goal.
"We got in position, but just didn't make plays when we needed to," Coach Carl Hayden said.
Male led 14-3 at halftime. It scored on its first possession, using a hurry-up offense to go 79 yards in 10 plays. Tyler Erny's 16-yard TD pass to Nathan Case capped the drive.
The Bulldogs' second score came on Erny's 3-yard TD toss to Ryan Ingram.
Hayden had a familiar message for his Generals at the break. "I told them the same thing every single halftime this year: the great thing about football is you've got two halves. Let's go out and start playing some football."
Male never let Lafayette get its offense in gear, but the Generals' defense did a great job keeping the home team in the game.
Justin Carr, Nick Lincavage, Drew Horseman and Noah Brown kept the Bulldogs from taking advantage of great field position time after time.
But Male's defense never loosened its grip. It limited Lafayette to just 148 yards.
"Luckily, we made some plays," Wolfe said. "Lafayette's a great team, and this was a good win for us."
After Lafayette's entire team huddled for one last time after the game, the Generals' seniors lingered behind and got a hug from Hayden.
Lafayette ended the season 7-4, its 11th consecutive winning record.
Male 7 7 0 3—17
Lafayette 0 3 0 0— 0
M—Nathan Case 16 pass from Tyler Erny (Erny kick). L—Nathan Gillespie 25 field goal. M—Ryan Ingram 3 pass from Erny (Erny kick). M—Erny 28 field goal.
Records: Lafayette 7-4; Male 6-5.
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com