Stanley Jones will be home for the holidays.
His second home, that is.
The former Bismarck High School standout, and current defensive end for NDSU, gets a couple days off before preparations crank up for the FCS title game on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.
"I plan to come back to Bismarck and stay with the family I've been living with since my senior year in high school," Jones said. "It's always fun to come back."
Jones, originally from Mexico, has played in all 14 of the Bison's games for the second straight year. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder is part of a four-player rotation at defensive end for the the No. 2-ranked Bison who face unbeaten and top-ranked James Madison in the title tilt. It's a rematch of last year's semifinal game in which the Dukes ended NDSU's reign of five straight FCS championships.
Jones has registered 2 1/2 sacks and 6 1/2 tackles for loss for the Bison, who have outscored their three playoff opponents 135-26.
Jones said there is no real secret to the Bison's success.
"I think we just bring it every day. The coaches do a great job of preparing us, and we take pride in preparing ourselves for the game," he said. "There's so much competition in our (defensive ends) group and on the roster. You can't take it for granted and that helps everybody."
When Jones returns to Bismarck he stays with Steve and Renee Schultz and their two young sons. Jones' family, consisting of his parents, three brothers and four sisters, moved back Mexico prior to Stanley's senior year at BHS.
"It was absolutely a blessing to have such a big family. We all got along. We fought a little bit, but it was always fun," he joked.
The good-natured family ribbing was never over food. His mom Clara always had plenty prepared, no small feat considering a couple of Stanley's brothers run even bigger than he does.
"My mom always put a lot of good food on the table," he said.
Jones is studying business administration NDSU. He takes pride in being one of several local products playing key roles in the Bison's chase for a sixth FCS title in the last seven years. He played against starting offensive lineman Tanner Volson of Drake-Anamoose in a high school all-star game. Dickinson's Levi Jordheim, a linebacker, and Luke Bacon from Towner-Granville-Upham all played against each other and have come up together through the Bison pipeline.
"There's a lot of pride in North Dakota for NDSU," Jones said. "We really enjoy being a part of that."