Throwback Thursday: Series edge to Nature Coast vs. Pasco

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Thu. September 26, 2013 | Mary Kenney

Throwback Thursday: Series edge to Nature Coast vs. Pasco

Pasco has a chance to do something Friday that it hasn’t been able to in its storied history: defeat Nature Coast.

The Pirates and Sharks have played twice since Nature Coast opened in 2003, and in both games, Nature Coast barely pulled ahead in the final minutes.

The teams met for the first time in 2007 on Nature Coast’s field. Pasco arrived with a new coach (Tom McHugh) and a 2-2 record.

Pasco could not break through a tight Nature Coast defense, but the Sharks, with three lost fumbles and 15 penalties for 120 yards, had few opportunities to score.

Josh Johnson rushed for an 8-yard touchdown, putting Pasco ahead 10-7 with 51 seconds remaining. Nature Coast’s Stephen Palaez hit on three major passes, setting up Tevin Drake’s 3-yard touchdown rush with four seconds left.

The teams’ most recent meeting in 2008 was in Dade City. Both teams were undefeated going into the October game. With one minute left in the first half, Brennan Allen kicked a 53-yard field goal to tie the score at 10.

After Nature Coast scored with four minutes to play, the Sharks could easily have settled for the PAT and tie, hoping for overtime. Instead, they lined up for a rush. Drake plowed through the Pirates’ defense for a two-point conversion and the 18-17 lead.

Pasco had a final chance to pull ahead. Johnson raced inside the NCT 20 but couldn’t complete a lateral pass to Marcus Hicks. The Sharks recovered the ball to seal the win.

Mary Kenney can be reached at mskenney@tampabay.com or on Twitter @maryknews.

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