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A bitter end: Banner night for Tarboro ends in loss for Gurley, Rams

Patriots Rams Super Bowl Football-17

Los Angeles Rams' Todd Gurley II watches from the bench during the first half of Super Bowl 53.

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BY SAMUEL EVERS
Sports Writer

Monday, February 4, 2019

Todd Gurley’s special season ended on Sunday night in the Super Bowl, with a 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots.

With Gurley on the field and Jeff Craddock in the stands, it was a momentous night for Tarboro football and the town as a whole, but the Los Angeles Rams’ gameplan, which didn’t manage a trip to the red zone and used the Twin Counties’ star running back in a limited capacity, didn’t stop the questioning and speculation as to why Gurley wasn’t used in his regular role for the second straight week.

In the end, Gurley rushed the ball 10 times for 35 yards, a slightly increased amount from the NFC Championship contest against the New Orleans Saints. The workload, however, was still much less than the leading touchdown scorer experienced in the regular season.

Was he injured? For the second straight week, Gurley denied any problems with his knee.

"I felt good," Gurley told reporters after the game. "Whenever my name is called to get in, I'm ready. ... I know there’s been a lot of concern about my knee and stuff, but I really am fine."

Added Rams coach Sean McVay: “He is healthy. I never enabled him to get into a rhythm offensively.”

Overall, the Rams scored just one time and finished the game with 260 yards of offense, with the running game only producing only 62 yards.

After a 13-3 year and a trip to the Super Bowl for the Rams, and with an MVP-caliber season for Gurley, the game itself and, of course, the outcome, felt like a letdown.

But Gurley, who will continue to win over hearts in the Twin Counties from now until eternity, also did a good job of putting everything in perspective after the game.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said during a trip to the podium. “This chance is not guaranteed, but at the end of the day, God blessed me and my teammates to be able to play in this game. It’s a blessing. It’s disappointing, but, you know what, when is life not disappointing? You go through stuff like this to overcome the bigger things later.”

As for Craddock, who was at the Super Bowl after finishing runner-up in the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award, it’s back to the grind.

“Back to the life I love,” he said Monday night, over text. “It sure was fun, however.”

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