Meet North St. Paul’s coach and star players ahead of the homecoming game

Meet North St. Paul’s coach and star players ahead of the homecoming game

At North High School in North St. Paul, students and staff are gearing up for another exciting
homecoming week. The football team is preparing for the big game, so in preparation I went in
and asked some star players and the coach about themselves.

Graham Freeman, 16, is one of four football captains of the North St. Paul High Polars,
while also playing tight end and defensive end.

Freeman started playing football in the 3rd grade, for a team named Junior Polars, and
stayed with the team until his 5th grade year. During his middle school years at John Glenn
Middle School, he stuck with football, having fallen in love with the game and with the familial
aspect of the team building.

During his 2020-2021 school year at North High, he missed out on a whole year of
football, due to the pandemic. Come the next year, he was right back in the game. This year, he
applied to be captain and made the cut, becoming one of the four 2022-2023 captains.
The thing pulling him back is the team – teamwork and team building. “Just going out to
eat with the team, making us more of a family,” Freeman said.

Alexander Moore, 17, is the second of four football captains for the North High Polars.
He currently plays center for his team.

Moore’s football career started with encouragement from his dad to play a sport. Moore’s
brother went to Hamline University for the sport, and wanting to follow in the same steps, he
chose to join football. He stuck with the sport all though elementary school, middle school, and
high school, now in his Senior year.

In high school, his junior year he applied to be team captain and was rejected the first
time. The second time he applied, however, he was successful, and is now currently one of four
team captains.

The team is what keeps him going, Moore said, “You make a family with your team.” The
whole team keeps each other going while holding strong on the field.

Justin McDonald is the head coach of the North St. Paul Polars. With a love of the sport at
just four years old, it’s no wonder he went on to play at Boyd Anderson High, and eventually
earned a captain position at the school.

He moved on to playing at University of Central Florida as a linebacker, achieving team
captain by his senior year at the university. After getting drafted for a few teams, he decided he
wanted to coach.

He started off coaching in Florida, at a high school he liked. Eventually, he moved up
north and became the coach for the North St. Paul Polars.

Coach McDonald loves the game, the thrill, the ups and downs with the team, the
lifelong brotherhood made within the sport. He wants to be able to give that experience to kids
that remind him of himself in high school. “Just know, support is all you need,” Coach McDonald