On a hot and steamy Tuesday night, an always hotly contested matchup between district rivals and state powers Lexington Catholic and Paul Dunbar got overheated.
The host Knights fell behind by a goal midway through the first half before answering with three goals of their own in the second half to win it 3-2.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
The game featured four yellow cards and a red card, and both teams struggling to keep their composure.
"It was a battle," said Catholic's Logan Cash, whose shot popped off of the post and into the Dunbar goal early in the second half to make it 1-1.
The Bulldogs went into the break with a 1-0 lead thanks to Alan VonNeida's rebound goal off of a third ricochet.
Catholic knew it had to regroup in the second half and did, scoring all three goals.
"Coach has been teaching us all year that when you get down a goal, you just have to fight back harder," Cash said. "We weren't going to just die."
Cash's goal seemed to reenergize the Knights.
"It definitely put our heads back in it and got us back on track," Coach Greg Hilvers said.
But the shot also turned up the heat on an already heated game. Robbie Gorham put the Knights ahead for good with 20 minutes left on a penalty kick for a hotly debated trip in the box.
"We let ourselves get taken out of the game mentally at that point, and it took us awhile to get our composure back," said Dunbar Coach Todd Bretz, who is still seeking that elusive 300th career win.
The Bulldogs haven't won since Aug. 19, their first game of the year. They have three losses and a tie since then.
Not including offside calls, Dunbar was assessed 12 more penalties than Catholic, including a red card issued with 11:15 to play that left the Bulldogs down a man the rest of the game.
Catholic took advantage and Patrick Roberts tapped in an insurance goal from close range.
But the Bulldogs didn't give up and Brad Laile rocketed in a shot past Catholic keeper Charles Lambert to make it 3-2 with 30 seconds left, which pleased Bretz.
"They kept working even though they were in an adverse situation," he said. "They weren't smart all of the time, but they did work hard."
Catholic has won three straight in the rivalry and has a 6-5 edge in games against Dunbar since the two teams were moved into the same district through realignment in 2004.
"It was a great game," Hilvers said. "Both teams battled hard. (Dunbar) had a lot of great chances at the end and we kind of hung on by a thread."
Lexington Catholic 3, Paul Dunbar 2
Goalse_SEmDPLD: Alan VonNeida, Brad Laile; LC: Logan Cash, Robbie Gorham, Patrick Roberts. Goalkeeperse_SEmDPLD: Joe Osborn; LC: Charles Lambert.
Records: Dunbar 1-3-1, Lexington Catholic 3-2-1