One good turnover deserved another Friday night.
Lafayette recovered fumbles on Paul Laurence Dunbar's first three touches, setting the tone in a 55-21 pasting of the Bulldogs.
"That's a nice way to start," Lafayette Coach Carl Hayden said. "I'm really proud of my boys. Played some good football tonight, got a win under our belt. We're headed in the right direction."
Kylan Nelson scored first-half touchdowns on a kickoff return (75 yards), fumble return (26 yards) and a run from scrimmage (61 yards).
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He finished with 129 rushing yards on eight carries and helped the visiting Generals to a 42-7 lead at intermission.
"Just doing my job out here," Nelson said. "They put me out there, and that's what I did."
Only the final score was left to decide, along with turnover totals.
Dunbar lost four fumbles and an interception, all in the first half. Lafayette lost one fumble.
The Generals (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak, winning for the first time since their season opener against Mason County.
"I think it's just a testament. The boys keep on working," Hayden said. "A lot of teams start out 1-3 and sometimes fold up the tent. ... I'm really proud of the boys to keep on trucking."
Dunbar (2-2) was denied its first three-game winning streak since the 2005 season, which is also the last time the Bulldogs beat Lafayette.
"Like I was preaching to my team all week, we just have to be disciplined and execute and do the little things," Coach Derrick Thomas said. "And we didn't do that tonight. So that's on me as a coach. I've got to convey to them somehow that they must play disciplined ball and error-free ball. So we're going to get better at that."
The turnovers began with the opening kickoff, which Dunbar fumbled away to Lafayette's Toryam Whiting.
Three plays netted nothing, but on fourth down Garrett Peavler connected with Tranard Chester for a 20-yard touchdown.
Peavler finished 16-for-29 for 171 yards and three TDs.
The Bulldogs fumbled the ensuing kickoff, recovered by Lafayette's Javonte Butler.
Lafayette failed to cash in, losing the ball on downs.
On Dunbar's next play, though, Nelson returned a fumble 26 yards to score.
"That was just a great way to open up the district," he said.
Dunbar held on to the next kickoff but went three-and-out.
A 59-yard sprint by Nelson put Lafayette on the Bulldogs' 3-yard line, where Malik Robinson took it in from on the next play.
Another Dunbar three-and-out was followed by Nelson's 61-yard TD run down the Dunbar sideline, giving the Generals a 28-0 lead with 2:45 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs got on the board early in the second quarter on a 32-yard TD pass from Emory Thompson to Taylor Smith.
Nelson returned the ensuing kickoff for his third score.
Dunbar's next scrimmage play ended with a fourth lost fumble, this one recovered by Drew Horseman.
That set up a 5-yard Peavler-to-Josh Dunn TD pass.
The game got chippy, with multiple personal fouls and an ejection in the late going. Dunbar finished with 12 penalties for 141 yards to Lafayette's seven for 60.
The teams skipped the usual post-game handshakes.
"You've got to do what you can to make sure that you keep sportsmanship," Thomas said. "We didn't want anything to get bad out there."
Hayden agreed, saying "We just wanted to do what was best for the boys."
Lafayette 28 14 13 0 — 55
Dunbar 0 7 0 14 — 21
L—Tranard Chester 20 pass from Garrett Peavler (Nathan Gillespie kick); L—Kylan Nelson 26 fumble return (Gillespie kick); L—Malik Robinson 3 run (Gillespie kick); L—Nelson 61 run (Gillespie kick); D—Taylor Smith 32 pass from Emory Thompson (Levi Clark kick); L—Nelson 75 kickoff return (Gillespie kick); L—Josh Dunn 5 pass from Peavler (Gillespie kick); L—Darius Hughes 1 run (Gillespie kick); L—Nathan Oakley 34 pass from Peavler (kick failed); D—J'Maurion Dunn 17 pass from Thompson (Dunn from Thompson); D—Taylor Smith 38 pass from Thompson (pass failed). Records—L: 2-3; D: 2-2.