GENOA – Elmwood Park may not throw the ball a majority of the time, but Genoa-Kingston coach Chad Wilmarth is wary of giving up a big play to the "track-meet" style Tigers.
The No. 6 Cogs host the No. 11 Tigers at 1 p.m. Saturday in the first round of the Class 4A Playoffs, and Wilmarth said Genoa-Kingston is looking to limit quarterback Nathan Simmons.
"We need to make them run another play," Wilmarth said. "When you have these explosive teams, these track meet teams that can put up big points quick, you've got to make sure we're playing sound football. Tackle the guy, make them run another play."
Elmwood Park coach Dylan Mack said the Tigers (6-3) pass about 40 percent of the time, but Wilmarth and the Cogs (7-2) said the Tigers offense is something of a different look.
"It's a lot different than what we've played in the Big Northern, but I think our corners, safeties and DBs in general will be able to step up," cornerback Nate Nessler said. "Hopefully we'll be able to meet the test."
The Tigers are coming off a 28-16 loss to Aurora Central Catholic (5-4), which resulted in a three-way tie atop the Metro Suburban Red, although the automatic berth went to Elmwood Park. ACC ended up missing the playoffs despite being eligible and co-champs of the conference.
Wilmarth said the Chargers kind of provided a blueprint for the Cogs to use Saturday.
"ACC gave us a good look, kind of similar to what we do," Wilmarth said. "They won their conference, they're a playoff team. You can't take anybody lightly. They're a spread. They have some guys they can throw the ball up to and make some plays."
Mack also agreed that the Chargers and Cogs are somewhat similar.
"I think we match up well," Mack said. "They are a lot like the last opponent we played in Aurora Central Catholic. I think it's going to be a really good game. I'm really excited to get up there."
The Cogs are making their third straight postseason appearance. It's only the second time in the program's history they've done that – they made four straight appearances from 1985 until 1988.
They were eliminated in the first round in 2015 then made a run to the quarterfinals last year.
"I feel like it's kind of an awesome thing to have three straight years (in the playoffs)," cornerback Jake Hansen said. "I feel like that's three straight teams that have come through and got the job done. We probably will have many more but I feel like this is an awesome experience to go through."
The winner will face either No. 3 Dixon or No. 14 Geneseo. The Dukes beat the Cogs 46-14 in Week 7 in Genoa.