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North HS Falls Short Of Amazing Turnaround

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Prep Bowl 2015 saw a sea of blue and white as one Minneapolis school made its first ever trip to the state title game.

Minneapolis North High School had never before competed for a football championship, despite its long and rich tradition in the city's athletic scene.

The North Polars were undefeated heading into the Class 1A matchup against Minneota.

On the turf of TCF Bank Stadium a storybook season had one final chapter to write - Minneapolis North football fans made a trip like never before.

"It's a long time coming, long time coming," Reginald Haynes said.

Haynes is a loud and proud papa of number 60, Devonte Haynes, a sophomore lineman.

"It takes a whole effort to raise a village, and our village came together and we saved our school, saved our community and now here we are," Haynes said.

Former North alums are quick to explain how just four years ago, the school was on the verge of being closed. There were simply too many problems and too few students.

"I think it's huge for our community," former North High student Louis Munn said. "We need more positive impacts for our area."

North Minneapolis has its share of challenges -- economically, academically and socially. Tonyus Chavers once coached girls basketball at North.

"You know, we've been dealing with a lot of issues on the North Side, like violence, and just to have this type of celebration and community come together over something positive I think is awesome," Chavers said.

The renewed commitment to academics and a winning football program is returning pride to the Northside. A Polar touchdown early in the first quarter to take the lead had Polar fans jumping from their seats.

In the end the storybook ending everyone had hoped for simply wasn't to be. Minneota would crank out a 35 to 18 win to claim the championship. It would be a tough loss on the field, yet a major win in the larger game of life.

In 2011 the school had just 67 students enrolled. This year there are over 300 students at North High and 90-percent of all seniors expect to graduate on time.

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