Johnson, Central and Southwest look strong

ANTHONY LEE, JOHN PLASCHKO, TRA GRIFFIN, DEVON JACKSON, ELIJAH NOEL, TOMMIE CRAWFORD and JESSE FLYNN each scored touchdowns in leading St. Paul Johnson to a 48-14 nonconference football victory over Minneapolis North. MOROCCO BALLARD and AARON DELONEY scored for North.

Johnson has won four straight victories. Griffin’s 84-yard punt return proved to be the highlight of the contest.

St. Paul Central, led by ANDREW LEWIS and MALIK GLASS and coached by alum and former all-state fullback SCOTT HOWELL, are City Conference champs for the third consecutive season.

Minneapolis Southwest appears headed for the City Conference crown behind the outstanding play of quarterback AYRTON SCOTT, running back EVAN GRAY, and wide receiver RODNEY PIERCE-TAYLOR.

DeLaSalle running back REGGIE GANDY, who was playing for Southwest a couple of years ago, has emerged as one of the state’s top prospects. It seems as if the Islander running back pipeline is in full effect.

In 2007, JEREMY RANDLE led them to the state playoffs. EVAN WILLIAMS dominated in 2008 and ’09, leading them back to the Metrodome each season.

BRYCE MCNEAL, the former star receiver from Breck, caught a pass for seven yards for Clemson in last week’s 21-16 loss to North Carolina.

McNeal, a redshirt freshman, also played basketball at Breck, a sport his family members excelled in, but chose to focus on football.

His father BRONSON and uncle BRETT led Minneapolis North to state tournament appearances in 1983 and ’84. Brett McNeal led them back in ’85 while later earning Mr. Basketball honors before going on to a hall-of-fame career at Western Kentucky.

Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to