HUDSON — Tom McHugh's big blue eyes were bulging out of his head with good reason.
Pasco's second-year coach had just seen his season flash before him.
The Pirates had been dominant in the first half then dominated by Hudson in the second, putting the heavily favored Pirates in a fight for their playoff lives in late September.
After a pair of drives ended on fumbles deep in Hudson territory, Pasco got one more shot. And on fourth and goal with 10.9 seconds remaining, Pirates quarterback D.J. Clower hit Chaise Dunn streaking through the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass and a 17-15 come-from-behind victory.
"It's amazing, I don't know what to say," McHugh said. "I think we got outplayed, and I think I got outcoached."
Pasco (4-0, 1-0 Class 3A, District 8) overcame seven fumbles, including two in the fourth quarter that killed drives in Hudson (1-2, 0-1) territory.
The Pirates appeared on their way to another run-of-the-mill win after Clower (11-of-17, 206 yards, two touchdowns) hit senior Josh Johnson on an 80-yard strike in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. Just before halftime, Pirates kicker Brennan Allen booted a 47-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Hudson had minus-5 yards rushing in the first half, and quarterback Zack Wynn was held to 66 yards passing.
But the Cobras made adjustments at halftime. Hudson coach Mark Nash said the athleticism of Pasco's defense forced the Cobras to run straight ahead. And that opened up the passing game.
The Cobras struck back quickly taking the opening drive of the third quarter 80 yards, capped by Wynn's 28-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Buono to pull within 10-7. Wynn finished 16-for-32 for 147 yards and a touchdown.
Then Hudson took the lead on a 12-yard run by Dylan Luke in the fourth quarter, capped by a Frank Serrano pass to Buono for the two-point conversion and a 15-10 lead.
"We just challenged them to come out here and lay it on the line," Nash said. "There's not a person in this county that expected us to play with this team. We told them the only people that can think we can make this a game are sitting in this (locker) room. … We were 10 seconds short."
But it was Clower's passing and his 45 yards rushing, and Dunn's six catches for 97 yards that kept Pasco in position to win.
Izzy Gould can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 580-5315.