Douglass coach Willis Alexander holds a standard of expectations for what his players should be, how they should behave and what they have to do to succeed.
If you're curious what those expectations entail, just watch Trojan seniors Cayman Bundage and Jas'Sen Stoner.
Not only are Bundage and Stoner two of the most important Trojans on Friday nights, they exemplify what Alexander wants his program to represent — and the coach is very specific about where it all starts.
“First of all, they're both great students. They're both gonna have a core GPA over 3.6,” Alexander said. “I don't have teachers calling me about their behavior or them not doing their work. The academic side is something I don't have to worry about.”
From there, it trickles over to the weight room, the locker room, the practice field.
“I trust they're gonna be where they're supposed to be and do everything they're supposed to do,” Alexander said. “I don't have to watch them to make sure, because they're gonna do it. They're dependable, reliable. They love being a part of this team, this program and this family.”
Bundage, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound lineman, has verbally committed to Arizona. He'll play a vital role for the Trojans at offensive and defensive tackle — but especially on offense, where Douglass has been among the state's top rushing teams the last three years.
Stoner, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound linebacker, was the team's leading tackler with 160 during last year's Class 4A state championship run. Air Force and some other Division-I programs have already expressed interest.
The two were in eighth grade when Alexander took over five years ago.
“It's gonna be hard for me to lose those two,” Alexander said. “I remember when they came in as babies. Now they're getting ready to play their senior year and head off to college.”
This year, Bundage and Stoner are seniors, and thus, leaders. But neither of them is going out of his way to draw attention to himself in that role. They're each leading like they always have — with actions.
“They're not rah-rah guys,” Alexander said. “But they're like E.F. Hutton — when they talk, people listen.”
Bundage and Stoner don't have loud, boisterous personalities, so they don't try to be something they're not.
“When we all get together, I'll talk, but when the time comes, I just lead by example,” Stoner said. “I try to go hard every day, come to school on time, do all my work — just be an example on the field and off the field.”
Players who came before them, like Quinton Neil, Corey Mitchell, Stanley Johnson and others, laid the groundwork for their behavior, and they're trying to do the same thing for the Trojans who follow them.
“Doing things right has a lot to do with the pride of being a Trojan,” Bundage said. “You've got to lead by example. If the younger kids see you doing it, they'll do it, too, and that's what builds your program.”
Comments like that are a sign to Alexander that he's building his program the right way.
“Hopefully we can keep pressing on and keep the program at a high, competitive level,” Alexander said. “If along the way, we have a chance to win another state championship, good. But our most important goal here is to educate these kids and get them ready for life.”
Duo they most resemble: Superman and Clark Kent Douglass seniors Cayman Bundage and Jas'Sen Stoner are like two sides of the same person. They both do things right, make good grades, show up to practice on time. Each is a leader in his own right. On the football field, their differing styles show through. Stoner, a middle linebacker, flies around on the field, making big hits and touchdown-saving tackles. With a team-best 160 stops last season, Stoner seemed to always be there when his team needed him. Bundage's play is less flashy. More of a workman's style, using a quiet strength to overpower opponents and get the job done. And you probably wouldn't want to be stuck in a phone booth with him.