Herald-Whig

Gutsy call helps Staley, Hamner win another ring

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 27, 2017 9:00 am

COLUMBIA, Mo.

Quentin Hamner said there was little doubt what Staley was going to do.

Staley had just moved the ball 72 yards in 48 seconds to score a touchdown with nine seconds remaining to get within 35-34 of Pattonville in the Missouri Class 5 state football championship game on Saturday night at Faurot Field.

Hamner, the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Falcons, said the coaching staff wasn't interested in going to overtime. Staley already had given up five passing touchdowns and 410 yards to Pattonville quarterback Kaleb Eleby, and trying to stop him again in an extra period didn't sound like a good idea.

"Plus, we've got to this point, and we feel like we want to go win the game," Hamner said. "There's not too much science that goes into it. Let's win it or be done with it. You make a decision, and you don't look back."

Falcons quarterback John Raybourn took the shotgun snap and scrambled to his right, bringing the Pattonville defense with him. He then turned and passed back to his left to wide-open J.D. Benbow, who caught the ball and then fell to the turf.

Staley won its second state title in the school's 10-year history with a 36-35 score.

"I've had several people say to me that was the best high school football game they've ever got to witness," Hamner said.

Hamner, a Clark County graduate, has seen plenty of good football games in his coaching career. He was an assistant coach on three state championship teams at Harrisonville, and he was an assistant on Clark County's title team in 2008.

Hamner, 36, played at Culver-Stockton College for Fred Bouchard, who eventually moved on to coach at Harrisonville and won four state titles. Bouchard hired Hamner to be part of his staff as a position coach after he graduated from C-SC.

Hamner also became friends with Phil Lite, an assistant for Bouchard at both C-SC and Harrisonville. When Bouchard left Harrisonville for Staley, the newest public school in the North Kansas City School District, he took Lite with him as a defensive coordinator. Hamner returned to Kahoka and was an assistant for three years before taking over as the head coach for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

"If I was ever going to come home, that was the time to do it," Hamner said. "I really enjoyed my time there."

He returned to the Kansas City area in 2013 to be an assistant for Josh Hood at Park Hill. Hamner was there for three years, and Park Hill made appearances in the quarterfinals and semifinals during his time.

When Bouchard stepped down at Staley following the 2015 season, Lite was promoted to head coach. He quickly hired his friend to join the Falcons' staff.

"It's hard to leave a program, but the biggest thing for me is to find a place that their culture and their way of doing things pushes you toward winning ways," he said. "We believe we can build student/athletes and build a culture that helps get kids off on the right foot."

Lite's wife, Rochelle, is the mother of former Clark County football standout Javis Vineyard, The Herald-Whig's Player of the Year in 2008. Hamner says he followed the Indians' playoff run this season and that Clark County coach Ethan Allen "has a template of what we're doing at Staley."

"(Being a football coach) is a hard road," Hamner said. "You just want to be in a place that has a vision to win, and I've been fortunate enough to maneuver myself to be in a position to do that."

Five times, in fact.