Oceanside fell to Barnwell, 42-31, in the Class AA Lower State championship game Friday at W.W. Carter Field.
It was the first legitimate loss of the season for the Landsharks who, after forfeiting four wins because of a rules violation, finish the season 8-5 overall.
Barnwell limited Oceanside senior back Keegan Williams to a season-low 2.1 yards per carry. Williams, who rushed for 2,231 yards in all this season, finished with just 46 against a War Horse defense that finished with nine tackles for a loss and five sacks.
Barnwell Shrine Bowl senior Deshawn Watson landed 10 tackles himself, five for a loss, with three sacks. Watson made an impact almost immediately, recovering a bad snap in the end zone on Oceanside’s opening drive to lift Barnwell ahead 7-0 with five minutes to play in the opening quarter.
Oceanside senior quarterback Sean Cooney hit Walker Rhue on a 27-yard touchdown pass to pull the Landsharks within a score, 14-9, with six minutes left in the second quarter. Barnwell answered with a 15-yard touchdown run from Jamari Chisholm that sent the War Horses into halftime with a 21-9 lead.
Oceanside opened the second half with a 21-play, 83-yard drive that burned 9 minutes and 45 seconds before Williams punched in a 5-yard score and added the two-point conversion to trim the gap to 21-17 with two minutes to play in the third quarter.
Barnwell always had an answer, though, this time with a pair of scores — a 54-yard touchdown pass from Craig Pender to Marcus Robinson with a minute left in the third quarter, then a 38-yard score by T.J. Miller a minute into the fourth that opened a 35-17 War Horse advantage — both on quick strike, two-play drives.
Barnwell shifted between wishbone and spread offensive sets throughout the night. Pender finished with 209 yards on 16-of-20 passing. Miller ran for 74 yards on just six carries and Chisholm added 67 yards on 13 touches. The War Horses ran for 185 yards as a team, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Cooney threw for 256 yards and two scores on 18-of-32 passing for the Landsharks. Rhue pulled in seven catches for 158 yards and two scores. Joel Osteen added another six grabvs for 64 yards.
The Oceanside offense was averaging 505 yards per game this postseason before being limited to 323 against Barnwell. The Landsharks scored more points against the War Horse defense than any team this season.
Oceanside is the first team from the East Cooper area to advance to a state semifinal game, at any level, since 2012.