North High’s Polar football team rode an undefeated season into the 2016 Prep Bowl at US Bank Stadium on November 26. They had made it to the championship game last year but had lost to Minnesota and had to settle for 2nd place. This time they defeated Rushford-Peterson to win their first state championship. The basketball team had also won a state championship earlier this year.
These championships are all the more remarkable when you consider that North High nearly closed its doors back in 2010 when the school district slated it for closure. The community and alumni rallied to save the school–which is the oldest of the Minneapolis high schools (128 years in four different buildings)–and start new academic and athletic programs.
One of those people was Officer Charles Adams, who is a Polar alum and grew up in North Minneapolis. He has worked tirelessly, along with athletic director Leo Lewis, to build a respectful football program at North High. Officer Adams, affectionately called OA by students and community members, is not only the football coach, but also the North High School Resource Officer. He not only wants to help guide these young men on the football field, but also through life by helping them make good choices and to stay clear of harmful situations. The athletes are also expected to keep up the grades in order to play on the team. Since Adams, as well as his father and defensive coordinator, Charlie Adams, are both police officers, it’s also helping these young people see the police in a different light.
As if winning the state title wasn’t enough, both WCCO and the Minnesota Vikings named Charles Adams as their picks for Coach of the Year. Also, Jamire Jackson of Minneapolis North Community High School, along with Landon Goree of Rushford-Peterson High School, were named winners of the Most Valuable Teammate (MVT) award for the 2016 Prep Bowl Class A Football Championship. The award is new this year and was presented by Wells Fargo and the Minnesota State High School League. Their coaching staff selects the MVT award given for leadership, sportsmanship and inspiration to his teammates during the three games of the state tournament. Jamire, who faced adversity when his father passed away suddenly a few years ago, was honoring his father’s memory and himself this season as a senior captain. He was also a Star Tribune All-Metro First Team selection.
To top it off, the Lowry Bridge was lit up in blue and white to honor the Polars’ state championship.