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HUDSON — Pasco coaches were silent about their secret weapon’s health.
They cloaked him in a different jersey during warmups, and they covered his trademark dreadlocks in a skull cap.
But when the game started, the Pirates couldn’t conceal Janarion Grant any longer.
The senior athlete returned from a broken hand by scoring five touchdowns four different ways — including a run coach Tom McHugh called the best he’s ever seen — to lead Pasco to a 54-20 win over Fivay. The victory puts the Pirates (7-0, 5-0) in sole possession of first place in Class 5A, District 6.
“I had to come out here and show everybody that I haven’t lost anything,” Grant said.
He wasted no time doing it against Fivay (5-2, 4-1). Grant, last year’s North Suncoast co-player of the year, missed the Pirates’ first six games with injuries but was cleared to play Monday. He returned the opening kickoff 91 yards before the score was nullified because of a penalty. Grant had to settle for a 12-yard dance into the end zone six plays later.
“Sometimes when kids get hurt, they come back and they’re a little tentative,” McHugh said. “Not that one.”
Fivay did, too. The Falcons answered with a 74-yard pass from Tyler Degen to Andrew Meyer. They scored on their next play, too — a 35-yard pass from Degen to Kevin Faulkner — to go up 13-7 and give Pasco its first deficit of the season.
But Grant and the Pirates couldn’t be stopped. Grant took a screen pass, cut right, then left, then right again and broke at least six tackles during his 71-yard sprint past the goal line.
“I just seen green grass, and I just kept moving,” said Grant, who finished with 76 rushing yards, 88 passing yards and 86 receiving yards.
Midway through the second quarter, Grant lined up at quarterback and hit Malik Johns, who broke a screen pass for a 69-yard touchdown. And in the third quarter, Grant picked off a Fivay pass and ran 53 yards down the right sideline for his fourth score of the game. Lane Stancil added an interception and a fumble recovery for a Pasco defense that forced four turnovers but allowed a season-high 360 yards.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” Falcons coach Chris Taylor said.
Especially when Grant had one more eye-popping play left.
Late in the third, Grant started running up the middle and braced himself with his hand. He did it again to regain his balance, then spun off of one opponent.
“That was an oh-my-God play,” McHugh said.
Grant kept going. He broke at least one more tackle and darted left to finish off a 38-yard TD run that capped Pasco’s 47-0 run.
“I thought he was down two or three times, but he ended up in the end zone,” said RB David Emmanuel, who had two touchdown runs. “That’s Janarion.”
When pressed after the buzzer about his monumental return, Grant smiled.
“I probably still have a couple things up my sleeve,” the Division-I athlete said.