Miserable conditions — cool, wet, breezy weather and a sloppy, muddy field — made for a wonderful Friday night of football for Lafayette as it pounded Paul Dunbar 41-0 at Ishmael Stadium.
The Generals, getting a little payback for an 8-0 playoff loss to Dunbar last year, completed a sweep of their four city rivals this fall and secured a top seed in the Class 6A playoffs.
Lafayette went 18 years without a regular-season district title before winning one in 2003. It now has won three in the last six years.
"We come out every year wanting to win the city and the district," Coach Rob Sayre said. "But this is just one step. We want to take more steps and keep getting better."
The Generals couldn't have improved on much offensively or defensively Friday night.
Their defense, one of the stingiest in the state, blanked Dunbar by limiting the Bulldogs to 108 yards — 51 through three quarters — and forcing five turnovers, including four interceptions.
Gary Demus had two of the picks, giving him six this season. Eric Shaw and David Kenner led in tackles.
Lafayette's offense, which has struggled at times, had no trouble moving the ball against Dunbar. It rolled up 449 yards, more than twice its average.
"We showed the kind of team we can be," Sayre said.
Despite slippery footing on the rain-soaked field, the Generals tallied more points in the second quarter (27) than they scored in six of their previous seven games.
Dunbar Coach Jason Howell said field position made the difference in that decisive quarter.
"We had a couple short punts, we had a punt blocked, and the next thing you know it's boom-boom, and they're all over us," he said. "That took us completely out of our offensive plan. Our special teams really let us down."
Lafayette squeezed three touchdowns into the last 2:24 of the half — a 26-yard run by Jamel Sleet, a 35-yard pass from Matt Britt to Keenan Green, and a 3-yard toss from Britt to Toby Denton to make it 27-0 at halftime.
"We're taking steps forward; our offense is coming together," Sleet said.
Britt, a sophomore, ran the show. He completed eight of 16 passes for 138 yards and two TDs.
"He's just scratching the surface of his ability," Sayre said. "He's just now understanding what's going on. And you can't help but get better when you work as hard as he does."
Shaw, a dazzling junior star, generated 225 all-purpose yards, including 103 rushing.
Britt credited "a great week of practice" for the Generals' solid showing.
"Our mind-set coming in was to just focus," he said. "We knew we could play like this. It was just a matter of time."
Dunbar's record dropped to 1-7, but Howell said the Bulldogs haven't surrendered.
"The kids have maintained a positive attitude, and they're practicing hard every day," he said. "One of their mantras is 'never submit.' They're never going to give up."
Defending 6A champ Trinity had coaches on hand to scout Friday's game. The Shamrocks play at Dunbar next week and host Lafayette Nov. 7.
Paul Dunbar 0 0 0 0—0
Lafayette 0 27 14 0—41
L−Darnell Burnside 6 run (Matt Green kick). L−Jamel Sleet 26 run (Matt Green kick). L−Keenan Green 35 pass from Matt Britt (Matt Green kick). L−Toby Denton 3 pass from Britt (kick failed). L−Sleet 10 run (Matt Green kick). L−Brian Wade 2 run (Matt Green kick)
First downs 7 19
Rushing yds 20 311
Passing yds 88 138
Passess 25-9-4 17-8-0
Punts-avg. 10-27.6 2-33.0
Penalties-yds 7-54 9-77
Fumbles-lost 3-1 4-3
Records−Dunbar 1-7; Lafayette 6-2