Everywhere he goes, Marcus Caddell runs into someone who wants to talk about Douglass football.
â€œThe barber shop, the grocery store â€” if they see you with a Douglass shirt on, they always ask, â€˜What y'all look like this year? You goin' back to state?'â€ said Caddell, a senior standout for the Trojans.
â€œIt's not just Douglass we're playing for. We're playing for the whole community. We want to make them happy.â€
Nothing would mean more than to bring that community a gold ball in next Saturday's Class 4A state championship game against Wagoner at 7 p.m. inside Boone Pickens Stadium.
But even if they fail, these Trojans have succeeded in bringing pride back to Douglass football.
In 2006, when the current class of Douglass seniors was in eighth grade, the Trojans went 1-9 and didn't win a district game.
The next season, coach Willis Alexander took over and won six games. In his second season, the Trojans went back to the playoffs for the first time since 2003. And now, they've reached the 4A title game in consecutive seasons.
Trojan pride has been restored, as well as expectations of success in orange and black.
â€œI think success breeds success,â€ Alexander said. â€œWe're at the point in our program where kids have expectations. The expectation is to come out and play at a high level, play like we coach them to play, every single snap, and things will take care of themselves.
â€œSometimes we're gonna be the dog and sometimes we'll be the hydrant, but the program takes care of itself.â€
The Trojans have 14 seniors, virtually all of whom play a key role for this year's team, which is 11-2. And most of those seniors have been with Alexander since he got the job their freshman year.
â€œCoach â€˜A' coming in my freshman year brought a lot of structure to the team,â€ quarterback Shon Bridges said. â€œEverybody was undisciplined. Now, we've improved a lot because of that.â€
And Alexander is equally thankful for the leadership his seniors have provided in getting Trojan football headed back in the right direction.
â€œThis is my first senior class I've had for all four years at Douglass,â€ Alexander said. â€œMe and these guys, we've grown together, we've hurt a lot. We've had joy, we've had pain. We've got to finish the mission.
â€œThey mean a lot to the program, they mean a lot to the community and they mean a lot to each other. And that's the most important thing.â€