It is the oldest school in Minneapolis; Minneapolis North High School graduated its first class in 1891. It has been a difficult road for the Minneapolis North High School the past decade. A decision to close the elementary and middle school that fed the high school left the 2010 enrollment at just 265 students, down from over 1100 less than a decade prior. Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent at the time, Bernadeia Johnson, recommended that the school be closed.
The community and alumni rallied together to save the school, which was proposed to be closed after the 2014 school year, and saved the school. Minneapolis North has always had a strong tradition of sports and, at one time, was perennially atop the Class 4A rankings in football, had to regroup and start their program over.
The school has rallied around its sports teams. Seven years ago, Minneapolis North head coach Charles Adams assumed the reigns of the staggering program and has masterfully rebuilt the football program, which was the runner-up at the 2015 Prep Bowl, losing to Minneota.
Fast forward to November 26, 2016, the Minneapolis North Community Polars entered Prep Bowl XXXV the number two ranked team in Class 1A while their opponent, Rushford-Peterson was ranked ninth. The game, through the first half, did not disappoint.
Rushford struck first just under four minutes into the game when Noah Carlson broke free for a 74 yard touchdown scamper. It was not until the second quarter when Minneapolis North quarterback Azerick Rodgers hit Taylor Johnson for a 13 yard touchdown pass. On the next drive, at the Minneapolis North 42 yard line, Minneapolis North’s Phillip Scott forced a Rushford-Peterson fumble that was recovered by Johnson and run back for a 56 yard fumble recovery touchdown. The pair of Taylor Johnson touchdowns put the Polars up 16-7 – they converted both two-point conversion attempts.
Rushford-Peterson scored with 52 seconds left in the game when Landon Skalet hit Noah Carlson for an 11 yard touchdown. It would be the last points for the game for the Trojans.
Minneapolis North would play the clock running 14 times in the third quarter and 19 times in the fourth quarter, scoring a touchdown in each of the final two quarters, although they only converted the two points on the final score of the game.
Minneapolis North, graduating a class for the 125th year wins the Class 1A Prep Bowl XXXV by a score of 30-14.
Photos by Rick Corwine