Paul Rains practically bubbled with enthusiasm Friday night.
His Dunbar Bulldogs had just defeated host Lafayette 21-16, snapping a streak of five straight losses to the Generals.
"We've worked so hard to get to this point," the coach said, "and for us to go out and just legitimately win a game against one of the city teams ... I'm just really proud of them."
Dunbar (3-2) outgained Lafayette 325 yards to 269, including a whopping 310-156 on the ground.
A.J. Williams led the ground game with 122 yards on 15 carries, including a touchdown.
Emory Thompson ran for one touchdown, passed for another and intercepted a Lafayette pass.
His pick was one of three by the Bulldogs.
"We turned the ball over too many times," Lafayette Coach Eric Shaw said. "You turn the ball over, don't protect the football, you can't win that battle."
Rains was pleased with his defense, plus a new-look offense.
"I think we've got one of the better defenses around, and we're still learning," he said. "We've been doing a great job of pursuing the ball and tackling. We really worked on that this summer.
"Put the wing-T in this week. ... We had to take a little bit of the pressure off of Emory instead of trying to read the option all the time. And the kids, they did well for three days of practice."
Tied 7-7 at halftime, Lafayette (1-4) got a 32-yard touchdown run by Kylan Nelson, which Dunbar later answered with a 6-yard scoring run by Williams.
Dunbar tried a 48-yard field goal to close the half. The kick was well short, and Lafayette's Mason Alstatt ran the ball back 99 yards for an apparent score.
However, an illegal block in the back negated the play and, with no time left on the clock, Lafayette failed on a 46-yard field-goal try.
The Generals also had an early scoring threat snuffed when Thompson came up with an end-zone interception.
Dunbar took the lead for good with 8:37 left in the third quarter. Thompson, on a keeper, went around right end, eluded several would-be tacklers and scooted 74 yards to the end zone.
"We had been running a couple plays to set it up, so we kind of knew it was going to be there," Thompson said. "I just had to run. I had great blocking on the outside by my receivers, so I had the easy part."
Lafayette pulled to within 14-10 on a 24-yard field goal by William Wester.
But Dunbar strung together four first downs on what proved to be a game-winning drive.
The score came on a 15-yard play-action pass from Thompson to a wide-open Cam Pergram with 3:21 left.
"Same thing — we set it up with a couple other plays on a couple other drives," Thompson said. "So we had a feeling it was going to be there. I rolled left, he was wide open. All I had to do was give him a nice, easy, catchable ball."
Lafayette's Clay Bolin ran 1 yard for a touchdown with 1:08 left.
After failing on a two-point conversion try, the Generals also misfired an onside kick attempt.
"We had great opportunities," Shaw said. "We've just got to seize the moment and finish."
Dunbar 21, Lafayette 16
Dunbar 0 7 7 7—21
Lafayette 7 0 3 6—16
L—Kylan Nelson 32 run (William Wester kick); D—A.J. Williams 6 run (Levi Clark kick); D—Emory Thompson 74 run (Clark kick); L—Wester 24 field goal; D—Cam Pergram 15 pass from Thompson (Clark kick); L—Clay Bolin 1 run (pass failed).
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.