Written by Corbett Smith
Hard-charging coach has Farmersville in regional finals for first time
FARMERSVILLE — Farmersville coach Craig Coheley is big on motivational speeches.
“You wake up in the morning, and he calls you with one,” pitcher Derrick Griffin joked.
But something Coheley said during those long Tony Robbins-esque moments has stuck.
Farmersville (30-7) has advanced to the Class 3A Region II finals for the first time in school history.
The Farmers will face regional power Texarkana Pleasant Grove in a three-game series starting Thursday.
“We didn’t make the playoffs last year,” Coheley said. “After a few practices, I told them they had the ability to go to the playoffs and do some great things, if you will improve, play hard together, embrace each other. Don’t be afraid to dream.”
With a Class 2A enrollment of 443 in a district with soon-to-be 4A teams such as Prosper and Lovejoy, Farmersville finished second, beating the two behemoths in 1-0 wins over the span of a week during the season. No other boys team in Farmersville has made the playoffs out of that district in the last two seasons.
Farmersville played with as few as 11 varsity players — nine of them seniors — for part of the season.
Coheley — who won the 2007 2A state title at Rogers — has been coaching the second half of the season while looking for work after new athletic director and football coach Sammy Burnett chose not to keep him on his staff.
And yet, Farmersville is two wins away from a trip to the UIL state tournament.
“It’s all helped us fight stronger,” leadoff hitter Byron Brooks said. “And it helps us believe more, too.”
Brooks (.456, 39 RBIs, 33 steals) has led a potent offense, which has averaged 9.25 runs in the playoffs.
Griffin, a transfer from Frisco Heritage, and Collin Rodgers each have double-digit wins and sub-2.00 ERAs.
Pleasant Grove presents a formidable challenge — the 2010 3A champs have advanced to state each of the last four seasons.
“If they have the courage to dream it, it can be done, if we play well,” Coheley said.