SPARTANBURG — North Carolina scored 20 unanswered points early in the second half Saturday to win 26-19 over South Carolina’s high school all-stars in the 75th annual Shrine Bowl.
Tarboro’s Todd Gurley scored two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter to give North Carolina its first lead after trailing 13-6 at halftime. Gurley had 119 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns to earn North Carolina Offensive MVP.
“We got off to a slow start in the first half, but made some adjustments at the half and were able to make the running game work,” Gurley said.
South Carolina’s Joseph Copeland passed for two touchdowns in the first half, finding Shaq Roland in the end zone both times. Lexington’s Roland finished with 143 receiving yards and was named South Carolina Offensive MVP. Gaffney’s Copeland was 8 of 13 with 169 passing yards.
North Carolina’s win was its first since a 24-14 victory in 2009. South Carolina leads the series 41-30-4.
Neither squad was able to find an offensive rhythm until South Carolina pieced together a seven-play, 80-yard drive that finished with Copeland’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Roland with 8:51 left in the second quarter. The Sandlappers failed to make a 2-point conversion.
The Tar Heels struck back on the ensuing kickoff as Mallard Creek’s Jamel Harbison scored on a 94-yard return. The extra-point attempt failed.
Copeland found Roland again in the half’s final minute on consecutive passes for 57 yards and a 25-yard touchdown to give South Carolina a 13-6 halftime lead.
“We had some big plays in the first half,” Roland said. “But I have to give credit to (North Carolina) for being able to put things together and stop us in the second half.”
The Tar Heels completed a nine-play, 41-yard drive with 4:45 left in the third quarter on Gurley’s 1-yard touchdown. Gurley raced in from the 15 with 46 seconds left in the quarter to give North Carolina a 20-13 lead.
Mallard Creek’s Jela Duncan rushed for a 76-yard touchdown on the Tar Heels’ first play in the fourth quarter to give North Carolina a 26-13 lead.
South Carolina answered with 5:05 left as Goose Creek’s Virgil Smalls punched in from 1 yard out. The Sandlappers’
2-point conversion failed.
The Tar Heels finished with 260 yards rushing and 25 passing yards. South Carolina gained 40 yards on the ground and had 289 passing yards.
North Carolina 0 6 14 6 – 26
South Carolina 0 13 0 6 – 19
SC – Shaq Roland 18-yard pass from Joey Copeland (Caleb Rowe pass failed)
NC – Jamel Harbison 94-yard kick return (Bradley Pinion kick failed)
SC – Roland 25-yard pass from Copeland (Kaleb Patterson kick)
NC – Todd Gurley 1-yard run (Pinion kick)
NC – Gurley 16-yard run (Pinion kick)
NC – Jela Duncan 76-yard run (kick failed)
SC – Virgil Smalls 1-yard run (run failed)