Lafayette football coach Evan Shaw played linebacker in the NFL, so there's nothing he likes better than watching his Generals play defense with spirit, tenacity and fearlessness.
That's why Shaw was smiling with satisfaction after No. 13 Lafayette suffocated host Dunbar 41-7 on Friday night.
Yes, the Generals had plenty of offensive highlights, including Dontavion "Lucky" Jackson reeling in three touchdown passes from Walker Wood; Malik Robinson and Quinten Brown combining for 180 rushing yards; and Javarious Robinson returning the second-half kickoff 91 yards for a TD.
But it was Lafayette's defense that imposed its will, turning back the Bulldogs every time they cracked the red zone until the Generals' reserves allowed a late score.
"I love to see guys just flying around, having fun, being emotional and striking the opponent," Shaw said. "Because this is a very fast, physical game, and that's the way it should be played."
Theo James, a senior defensive lineman who had a team-best 6.5 tackles, said the Generals played as if they were behind all night.
"We came out and dominated. We all kept the intensity high the whole game."
Branden Layne, a sophomore outside linebacker, said Lafayette's defensive strategy worked perfectly.
"We kept the outside containment and let (Dunbar) go up inside. The safeties did a good job, the linebackers did a good job staying home, and the d-line did a good job up front."
The Generals' defense sent an early message with a goal-line stand. Late in the first quarter, Dunbar, trailing 7-0, had first down at the Lafayette 5-yard line.
But the Bulldogs couldn't score. On fourth down at the 1, quarterback Tre Penny was stonewalled by Evan Shaw and William Bossert.
"I can't even put into words how excited we are when we get stops like that," senior linebacker Devon Quincy said.
Dunbar drove to the Generals' 21 on its next possession, but the Generals' defense rose up again.
The next time the Bulldogs got the ball, Evan Shaw intercepted a Penny pass.
Twice in the last three minutes of the first half, Dunbar had the ball inside the Lafayette 20, but it came up empty both times.
Bulldogs Coach Paul Rains said his team is too young to overcome some mistakes.
"We're not the type of team that can get minus-yardage plays when we get in the red zone," he said.
"Give Lafayette credit. They bowed their backs."
The Generals' offense sputtered a few times early, but found its rhythm.
Wood, a sophomore quarterback, threw TD passes of 25, 11 and nine yards to Jackson, who has nine TD catches this season.
Wood was an efficient 10 of 12 passing for 124 yards.
Malik Robinson ran nine times for 98 yards, and Brown carried three times for 82 yards as Lafayette beat the Bulldogs for the eighth time in the last 10 meetings.
Dunbar's Jay Coleman ran 15 times for 96 yards. Nate Gay ran for 67, including a 12-yard TD with 1:57 left.
Maurice Carter had 7.5 tackles to lead the Bulldogs' defense.
Rains said it was obvious before kickoff which team had the bigger, stronger athletes. "You could look at the two teams and see the difference in warmups. You didn't have to watch the game."
Lafayette 41, Paul Dunbar 7
Lafayette 7 13 14 7—41
Paul Dunbar 0 0 0 7—7
L—Walker Wood 1 run (Colton Duprey kick). L—Lucky Jackson 25 pass from Walker Wood (kick failed). L—Jackson 11 pass from Wood (Duprey). L—Javarious Robinson 91 kickoff return (Duprey kick). L—Jackson 9 pass from Wood (Duprey kick). L—Quinten Brown 68 run (Duprey kick). PD—Nate Gay 12 run (Josh Szydlik kick).