MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is a strong Gophers connection to one of the participants in this week’s state football playoffs. Minneapolis North High School is where Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson made his mark.

It’s also a program that, like Johnson was, focuses on multi-sport athletes.

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The Minneapolis North football team uses a cold day to go indoors and lift weights, all part of the dynamic to be a Polar.

“You’ve got to be a student of the game, and you’ve also got to work hard at it,” coach Charles Adams said. “You’ve got to be in the weight room, grinding and getting stronger, to keep yourself from getting hurt.”

Whatever the recipe, it’s worked, again. They have played their way to the state semifinals for the third time in four years, doing it for the “North Side” community.

“It means a lot, because this community — you’ll see at this game we’re about to have — the whole community’s going to come out and support, and it just means a ton for us,” quarterback Zach Yeager said.

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They have done it with a lot talent, and they have overcome what gets in the way, the stuff that can define a season.

“It’s probably one of the teams that handles adversity better than some of my past teams, but I don’t know how good it is for my blood pressure,” Adams said.

This fall they feel the motivation from another Minneapolis football power — Tyler Johnson is a Gophers standout, staring at a future in the NFL.

“We have a group chat, a team group chat. Every time the Gophers are playing, we’re always talking about Tyler this, Tyler that, always talking about the Gophers,” Yeager said.

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And back in the day, Johnson was a star quarterback for the Polars. And in the weight room, most are training for multiple sports, just like Johnson did. Because that’s the way they roll at Minneapolis North.