For Blaine senior quarterback and co-captain Jack Haring, it's all going according to script.
"This is exactly what I wanted," Haring said. "I wanted to come out and beat Totino-Grace in the first round, because they knocked us out two years ago at 'the Bank.' And then I wanted Prior Lake right after that because obviously, they beat us last year."
Haring can check off another box this season. Undefeated Blaine put away familiar playoff foe Prior Lake with a 34-7 victory Friday in the second round of the Class 6A football playoffs at Blaine High School.
The Bengals (10-0), ranked second in the Star Tribune's Metro Top 10, used three consecutive touchdown passes from Haring in the second quarter to build a 31-7 halftime lead. Senior receiver Brandon Wittig caught two of those for 44- and 56-yard scores. All of his unofficial 136 total receiving yards came in the first half on four catches.
Blaine got its mojo going early after the teams traded three-and-outs to start the game. Senior co-captain Tony Strand returned a punt 79 yards for the first score of the game to set the tone.
"That was huge," first-year Blaine coach Ben Geisler said. "We've had a hard time starting games off. We've been a really good third-quarter team, but first quarter's been a struggle for us this year. That momentum was really big, and our kids just kind of rallied on it."
Prior Lake (5-5) got within 10-7 in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run from quarterback Colin O'Connor. But the Bengals responded 1 minute, 3 seconds later with the first of the second-quarter touchdown trio.
In addition to the two catches from Wittig, junior Damari Porter caught a 15-yard pass in the endzone after a Lakers turnover.
The game was a role reversal from a year ago, when home team Prior Lake defeated Blaine 49-14 in the same playoff round.