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Staley Falcons setting a legacy of success on and off of the football field

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- They're in the business of winning football games at Staley High School.

Staley, led by third-year head coach Phil Lite, carries the usual lesson plan in practice, but the Falcons are also fascinated by self-actualization. While other teams' practices have passes and punts, Staley also has book studies in many post-practice meetings.

During the offseason, Lite, who took over for longtime coach Fred Bouchard before the 2015 season, purchased a series of leadership instruction books written by the popular author, Jon Gordon. He and players often gather in the team's locker room, reading the books aloud and discussing them.

"Motivation doesn't last, but purpose-driven motivation does," one Staley player could be overheard reciting.

Gordon's works center around the successful business practices used by successful corporations and pro sports franchises. Lite says he looks at his high school football program the same way, and incorporates many of Gordon's instructions into management of the Falcons.

"You look at Hendrick Racing. You look at Ford. You look at Campbell's Soup. Those companies have dealt with adversity to stay on top," Coach Lite told FOX 4 News on Thursday.

Lite says it's working, too. His team entered Friday night with a perfect record (4-0) and they've learned not to break down when games aren't going their way. Players are also getting excited about hard work and long-range goal setting.

On September 1st, the Falcons trailed Platte County 13-0 in the first quarter before battling back to win 62-27. Lite says his team refused to give up on one another, and the patience they've learned from the Gordon books helped them to that victory.

"It's a program, and when we leave, the program is still going to be here. It's all about setting a legacy and leaving our mark on this program," Falcons quarterback John Raybourne said.

"People need to know where to go. Without a leader, they don't know where to go. They're just out there wandering. I think our team has great leadership," Zach Elam, Staley tight end, told FOX 4 News.

"I love the line (Gordon) uses, 'If you concentrate on the roots, the fruits will be there.' We're concentrating on the roots," Lite said.

The Falcons are scheduled to test that enthusiasm against another unbeaten team, Fort Osage (4-0) on Friday night at 7 p.m.