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Oceanside walked the field together as a team before kickoff with a steady shower pouring overhead. Two days of rain had soaked a topsoil turf that lacked any real crown to drain. It played more like a sponge. Shoes were getting stuck deep in the mud. Divots and sinkholes made it tough to balance. Chad Grier turned to his line of players and smiled. “This is nothing,” Oceanside’s head coach assured them with a laugh. “Anyone who thinks this is a problem for us must’ve not seen our old field in Awendaw,” he continued, referencing the Landsharks’ practice field of years passed — the backyard of a church that flooded with ponds more than puddles. “We were born in this.” Oceanside thrived in the dreary conditions, shutting out Whale Branch, 28-0, in the second round of the Class AA playoffs Friday in Seabrook. The Landsharks average about 25 pass attempts per game. They attempted just one pass beyond the line of scrimmage against Whale Branch, and still finished with 300 total yards of offense, while limiting the Warriors to 118. Grier has said since the preseason that his team will go as far their offensive and defensive lines can take them. The Landsharks were playing Friday with a reserve center, just a sophomore, at maybe the most important position on the line. No excuses. The team shuffled in dry balls as best they could. They shielded others from the rain with towels and dumped cat litter down to absorb some of the moisture. “This is our Kentucky Derby in the rain,” he told his linemen before kickoff. “Lets go find out if we’re as good as we think we are. Go impose your will on somebody tonight.” Oceanside didn’t attempt a pass in the first quarter. The Landsharks fed their thoroughbred instead. Senior 1,000-yard back Keegan Williams stacked up 162 yards on 21 carries by halftime. Williams had carried the ball more than 20 times just twice in any game this season. Landsharks senior quarterback Sean Cooney put Oceanside ahead with a 1-yard sneak in the opening quarter. Williams tacked on a 51-yard touchdown run in the second to open a 14-0 halftime advantage. “Everyone knew (Williams) was getting the ball. It didn’t matter,” Grier said. “Our offensive line was that good. And Keegan, I’ve run out of superlatives. You couldn’t walk across that field without tripping. He’s out there cutting, running through tackles, just putting the team on his back. That kid is incredible.” Cooney hit Walker Rhue on a 46-yard touchdown pass to extend a 21-0 cushion in the third quarter. Cooney finished 3-of-4 passing, for 65 yards and the score. Williams added an 8-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. He ran for 266 yards in all, averaging 7.6 per carry, and adding two catches for 19 more. The Oceanside defense didn’t allow Whale Branch a single completion. The Warriors attempted four passes; the Landsharks picked off two of them. They also forced two turnovers on downs. Senior lineman Myles Castain had a sack and five tackles for a loss. The Landsharks had 10 tackles behind the line as a team. The game was nothing like last season, when Oceanside turned it over four times and had a punt blocked in an opening-round loss to Whale Branch. Revenge may be too strong of a word but the Landsharks, many of who were playing in that early exit last year, never forgot. “These guys are from the mean streets of Mount Pleasant,” Grier said with a laugh. “A lot of that is about pride. They remember what happened last year. This was a second chance to show what you’re made of.” The tough conditions were just another obstacle for Oceanside to overcome this postseason. There have been many. Playing as a No. 4 seed, despite having not lost a game this season, will keep the Landsharks on the road throughout the playoffs, and against the top seeds available. One of their assistant coaches is in the hospital battling lymphoma. He was expected to be released in time for Friday’s game but had to watch instead from a live stream on his phone. The Landsharks donned shirts read #NATESTRONG in support. Plenty more distractions swirl. Social media is a minefield of negativity; even opposing coaches have taken shots. Finding dead fish on their practice field was an unusual surprise. Finding “cheaters” written on their banners at school incited little more than a laugh. Oceanside has embraced its position in all of it, even adopting a “bad boys” mantra you might hear the Sharks chanting shirtless after games in below 40-degree weather. All that’s been designed to break them apart has seemingly strung them tighter together. They’re back on the road next week, this time against Woodland, a high-powered No. 2 seed on a four-game winning streak in which its averaging 41 points per game. Another worthy challenge, it seems, for a team that appears to feed off of adversity. “It all has done nothing but galvanize this team,” Grier said. “The outside noise and whatever else is out there, it’s only made us stronger.”

Oceanside overcomes latest challenge in a postseason littered with obstacles

Oceanside walked the field together as a team before kickoff with a steady shower pouring overhead.

Two days of rain had soaked a topsoil turf that lacked any real crown to drain. It played more like a sponge. Shoes were getting stuck deep in the mud. Divots and sinkholes made it tough to balance.

Chad Grier turned to his line of players and smiled.

“This is nothing,” Oceanside’s head coach assured them with a laugh.

“Anyone who thinks this is a problem for us must’ve not seen our old field in Awendaw,” he continued, referencing the Landsharks’ practice field of years passed — the backyard of a church that flooded with ponds more than puddles.

“We were born in this.”

Oceanside thrived in the dreary conditions, shutting out Whale Branch, 28-0, in the second round of the Class AA playoffs Friday in Seabrook.

The Landsharks average about 25 pass attempts per game. They attempted just one pass beyond the line of scrimmage against Whale Branch, and still finished with 300 total yards of offense, while limiting the Warriors to 118.

Grier has said since the preseason that his team will go as far their offensive and defensive lines can take them. The Landsharks were playing Friday with a reserve center, just a sophomore, at maybe the most important position on the line. No excuses. The team shuffled in dry balls as best they could. They shielded others from the rain with towels and dumped cat litter down to absorb some of the moisture.

“This is our Kentucky Derby in the rain,” he told his linemen before kickoff. “Lets go find out if we’re as good as we think we are. Go impose your will on somebody tonight.”

Oceanside didn’t attempt a pass in the first quarter. The Landsharks fed their thoroughbred instead. Senior 1,000-yard back Keegan Williams stacked up 162 yards on 21 carries by halftime. Williams had carried the ball more than 20 times just twice in any game this season.

Landsharks senior quarterback Sean Cooney put Oceanside ahead with a 1-yard sneak in the opening quarter. Williams tacked on a 51-yard touchdown run in the second to open a 14-0 halftime advantage.

“Everyone knew (Williams) was getting the ball. It didn’t matter,” Grier said. “Our offensive line was that good. And Keegan, I’ve run out of superlatives. You couldn’t walk across that field without tripping. He’s out there cutting, running through tackles, just putting the team on his back. That kid is incredible.”

Cooney hit Walker Rhue on a 46-yard touchdown pass to extend a 21-0 cushion in the third quarter. Cooney finished 3-of-4 passing, for 65 yards and the score.

Williams added an 8-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. He ran for 266 yards in all, averaging 7.6 per carry, and adding two catches for 19 more.

The Oceanside defense didn’t allow Whale Branch a single completion. The Warriors attempted four passes; the Landsharks picked off two of them. They also forced two turnovers on downs. Senior lineman Myles Castain had a sack and five tackles for a loss. The Landsharks had 10 tackles behind the line as a team.

The game was nothing like last season, when Oceanside turned it over four times and had a punt blocked in an opening-round loss to Whale Branch. Revenge may be too strong of a word but the Landsharks, many of who were playing in that early exit last year, never forgot.

“These guys are from the mean streets of Mount Pleasant,” Grier said with a laugh. “A lot of that is about pride. They remember what happened last year. This was a second chance to show what you’re made of.”

The tough conditions were just another obstacle for Oceanside to overcome this postseason. There have been many. Playing as a No. 4 seed, despite having not lost a game this season, will keep the Landsharks on the road throughout the playoffs, and against the top seeds available.

One of their assistant coaches is in the hospital battling lymphoma. He was expected to be released in time for Friday’s game but had to watch instead from a live stream on his phone. The Landsharks donned shirts read #NATESTRONG in support.

Plenty more distractions swirl. Social media is a minefield of negativity; even opposing coaches have taken shots. Finding dead fish on their practice field was an unusual surprise. Finding “cheaters” written on their banners at school incited little more than a laugh. Oceanside has embraced its position in all of it, even adopting a “bad boys” mantra you might hear the Sharks chanting shirtless after games in below 40-degree weather. All that’s been designed to break them apart has seemingly strung them tighter together.

They’re back on the road next week, this time against Woodland, a high-powered No. 2 seed on a four-game winning streak in which its averaging 41 points per game. Another worthy challenge, it seems, for a team that appears to feed off of adversity.

“It all has done nothing but galvanize this team,” Grier said. “The outside noise and whatever else is out there, it’s only made us stronger. Our path in the playoffs, we welcome that. We’re thankful for any opportunity to play football. We embrace it all as we go and keep moving forward.”