Dunbar was steady as she goes Friday night.
The Bulldogs scored seven points in each quarter, grinding out a 28-16 victory over host Tates Creek in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.
Dunbar outgained the Commodores 347 yards to 260, including a whopping 321-15 on the ground.
"We're a running football team, so we're going to pound the ball down the field," Coach Paul Rains said. "Our O-line did a great job. Our defense played well, too."
Dunbar (6-5) avenged a season-opening 22-21 loss and snapped a six-game losing streak in the series between the schools.
The Bulldogs will play Henry Clay next week.
Jay Coleman led Dunbar's ground attack with 101 yards on eight carries, netting two touchdowns. A.J. Williams added 99 yards on 11 runs.
"We've struggled here the last two or three weeks because we've played some awful good teams, and we kind of got in a little bit of a funk," Rains said. "But it's nice to come back out and play a city team. We get up for city teams well, and being the playoffs starting. It's great for our seniors."
Dunbar led 14-10 at halftime.
Tates Creek (6-5) struck first, though, after Travis Smith recovered a squib on the opening kickoff.
What followed was an eight-play drive of 30 yards, including a successful fourth-down conversion along the way.
Graham Gordon got the score on a 1-yard sneak.
Dunbar answered with a six-play, 71-yard scoring drive that included a 52-yard run by Williams to the Creek 12.
The score came three plays later, when Cam Pergram ran up the middle from 2 yards out.
Special teams came up big for Tates Creek again late in the first quarter when Sakima Opsal got a hand on a Dunbar punt. The ball traveled only 7 yards and set up the Commodores on the Dunbar 33.
That led to a 26-yard field goal by Jake Ryan for a 10-7 lead.
Dunbar got a go-ahead score with 2:38 left in the half.
Coleman ran it in from 1 yard out, capping a six-play, 50-yard drive.
The Bulldogs made it 21-10 with their third-quarter touchdown, a 1-yard run by Emory Thompson. That came two plays after Coleman rambled 78 yards to the 1.
Creek made a game of it, pulling to within 21-16 with 9:05 left. The score came on an 18-yard pass from Gordon to Austin Rogers.
Gordon finished 21-for-27, good for 245 yards. Rogers ended up with eight catches for 106 yards.
Dunbar had a final answer, though, to put the game away.
Facing fourth-and-one at the Creek 20, the Bulldogs called on Coleman for an end-around to the right. Coleman took it all the way to the end zone with 5:34 left.
"It feels good to beat Creek," Coleman said. "It was all about the blocking. Our O-line got out there and they kept working and created a big hole."
Commodores Coach Mike Harmon said the difference boiled down to "execution, and lack thereof."
"They made some plays when they had to and we didn't. That kind of sums it up."
PAUL DUNBAR 28, TATES CREEK 16
Paul Dunbar 7 7 7 7—28
Tates Creek 10 0 0 6—16
TC—Graham Gordon 1 run (Jake Ryan kick); D—Cam Pergram 2 run (Levi Clark kick); TC—Ryan 26 field goal; D—Jay Coleman 1 run (Clark kick); D—Emory Thompson 1 run (Clark kick); TC—Austin Rogers 18 pass from Gordon (pass failed). D—Coleman 20 run (Clark kick).
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com.