By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The north side of Minneapolis is celebrating the accomplishments of one of its own.

Sunday’s NFC Championship game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers featured Tyler Johnson — the former Minnesota Gopher and Minneapolis North High School Polar – on the winning team.

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Dad Tyrone Johnson says his son is living his dream, and the support from his village is much appreciated.

“He’s playing football, he’s doing what he loves. I’ve seen him doing this his whole life, so it’s just, I’m amazed by the level he is at right now more than anything. I asked people to pinch me now because I feel like I’m dreaming,” Tyrone said. “We love the support, we love the north side.”

Many who know Tyler, and others who have only seen him play, flooded social media with well wishes.

“He’s worked so hard for it as well, so he deserves every bit of it,” Tyrone said.

Tyler Johnson (credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Tyler’s rise to north side royalty began at North Community High School, where he was a standout student athlete in both football and basketball. Larry McKenzie was his basketball coach for three years.

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“To know that I has a little bit, you know, to be involved with his life, man, we’re super proud,” McKenzie said.

He and wife Pam were dressed in Tampa Bay gear to cheer on the young man who is inspiring an entire community.

“Here’s a kid, walked the hallways, graduated from North High and went to the University of Minnesota and got a degree,” McKenzie said.

This former Polar and Gopher is now making his mark as a Buccaneer, and no one could be happier than those who had a part in making him the man and the player he is today.

“If it wasn’t for like McKenzie, Coach Adams, Pastor Jim [Halbur] over at [Phelps Activities Council], Marcus Nolan … without them, Tyler wouldn’t be who he is, you know. They stuck with him and I appreciate them for that,” Johnson said.

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Tyrone is predicting his son’s team will win it all at the Super Bowl. His Final score prediction: Tampa Bay 42, Kansas City 41.

Reg Chapman