High School Football

5A football playoff preview: Triad at Geneseo

The Triad Knights defense, shown here against Althoff last week, will get another stuff test in the first round of the playoffs against Geneseo.
The Triad Knights defense, shown here against Althoff last week, will get another stuff test in the first round of the playoffs against Geneseo.

No. 11 TRIAD at No. 6 GENESEO

Kickoff: 3 p.m. Saturday at Geneseo

Next week: Winner advances to face winner of Morris (7-2) vs. Marion (5-4) in second round.

TRIAD KNIGHTS (6-3)

Coach: Paul Bassler (19th year, 113-78)

Rank: not ranked

Playoff history: 20th playoff appearance and third straight; best recent playoff run was reaching the 5A quarterfinals in 2005.

Scouting report: The Knights have lost two of three after a 5-1 start. The option offense is centered around quarterback Tommy Bauer (997 yards rushing, 18 touchdowns) and fullback Tom Kraudel (832 yards, eight TDs). Triad also has gotten 492 yards and six TDs from Trevor Nott and 301 yards and two TDs from Devin Towns. The defense is led by Nathan Clark (72 tackles, six sacks), Ethan Salopek (61 tackles, one sack), Beau Barbour (58 tackles, four sacks), plus Colin Burnton and Chris Berg (combined for 11 sacks). Triad loves to keep things on the ground and eat up lots of time with long drives.

GENESEO MAPLE LEAFS (6-3):

Coach: Larry Johnsen, Jr. (12th season, 115-34)

Rank: 12th in final 5A state rankings

Playoff history: One of the most successful football programs in the state, this is Geneseo’s state-record 40th playoff appearance and fifth straight. The Quad Cities powerhouse known as the “Green Machine” with its familiar Green Bay Packers lookalike helmets and uniforms has won four state titles and finished second six times, going 76-35 in the postseason.

Scouting report: Battling injuries at several key spots, Geneseo is hoping a tough schedule prepared it for the playoffs. Senior running back, leading rusher and linebacker Jordan Jackson is one of the top players along with running back Drew Rapps as the Leafs like to keep things on the ground.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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