DADE CITY — Nature Coast could have tied the score with time running thin.
Jamie Joyner wanted the win, and he wanted to make a statement as loud as those Pasco cannons.
When Pirates coach Tom McHugh saw the Sharks line up for the go-ahead score, he wasn't surprised.
"I would have done it," McHugh said. "…The kid's got 1,000 yards rushing in four games. He should have confidence in him and that's how he played the game."
Sharks running back Tevin Drake plowed forward for the winning two-point conversion with four minutes, one second remaining. It proved enough for the 18-17 Nature Coast victory.
"That was a statement for us and our players," Joyner said. "I told them before the drive did they want to go for two. They did all the work. …It wasn't a thought."
Pasco (4-1) got one more shot at it on their next drive, and from first and 10 on their 31, senior Josh Johnson (four carries, 53 yards) raced around the right corner of his offensive line and flew down the sideline with what appeared to be the Pirates' own statement.
But with the Nature Coast defense converging, Johnson attempted a lateral to Marcus Hicks inside the Sharks' 20. The ball came loose and was gobbled up by Nature Coast (4-0).
Johnson injured his shoulder on the play and was expected to visit a local hospital to have it examined, McHugh said.
"I thought he was down when the ball came loose," McHugh said. "(The officials) said he was trying to lateral. We'll see it on the film."
The Sharks ate up most of the remaining 3:56, even converting a fourth and 1 on their 19.
"I wanted to put the ball in our hands," Joyner said of that decision. "I didn't want to give (Pasco senior) D.J. Clower or Josh Johnson a chance to decide it."
The Pirates had fallen behind quickly in the first quarter thanks to a 1-yard touchdown by Drake (28 carries, 112 yards, two touchdowns) and a 28-yard field goal by Danny Cologne.
Pasco senior Dominique Wilson sparked a comeback with a blocked punt in the second quarter. That set up a 14-yard touchdown pass from Clower to sophomore Hakeem Ishmar to pull within three.
Then with 1:03 left before halftime, Pirates kicker Brennan Allen launched a 53-yard field goal through the uprights to tie it at 10.
Plenty of credit goes to former Dade City resident Antwan Story. The former Pirate made big runs of 48 and 34 yards to set up both Nature Coast touchdowns. He got the harassing text messages all week, then the taunting yells from Pasco's fans.
What he didn't hear were the whispers from those same fans when he broke loose.
"That boy is fast," one fan said as Story raced deep into Pasco territory to set up Drake's winning score.
"It was intense," Story said. "It was a dog fight. I wanted to win real bad. …Going against them was a challenge, and I liked it."