Unrelenting wind and snow made for a raw October night and kept Blaine's marching band and dance team from halftime performances.

Those groups wouldn't have wanted to follow the tough act that was the Bengals' offense on Friday.

Spurred by Sam Browne's return of the opening kickoff for a score, Blaine capped all six of its first-half possessions with touchdowns. The surge led to a 59-21 victory against Armstrong in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs.

A state tournament semifinalist a year ago, the Bengals (6-3) executed at a level that Armstrong, which played primarily Class 5A opponents all season, could not match. The Bengals' point total was the most since the season opener, when they scored 53 at Stillwater.

"Every series we came out wanting to score," Blaine quarterback Connor Melton said. "Our starters never punted."

They pounced. Repeatedly.

Browne's 99-yard touchdown return set the pace. From there, Melton, runner/receiver Byron Bynum Jr. and receiver Mikey Gottschalk took turns making big plays. Melton and Bynum each participated in four touchdowns.

Bynum scored on runs of 1 and 31 yards, the latter a showcase of his ability to repeatedly cut and accelerate away from defenders. He put Blaine ahead 21-0.

No stranger to big plays, Bynum admitted his long scoring run surprised him "maybe a little bit. You just have to keep your feet moving because you never know what's going to happen."

On its ensuing drive, Armstrong (5-4) picked up its initial first down and then added two more on consecutive big gains. Sophomore quarterback Jake Breitbach scored on a 17-yard run and the Falcons had life though trailing 21-7.

"It really helped our confidence," Breitbach said. "We were running our plays well."

Blaine snatched back the momentum on the first play of its next drive. Melton's high-arching pass reached Gottschalk's hands behind the defense and he sprinted to finish the 77-yard scoring reception. They connected on a 59-yard scoring pass before halftime.

"We knew we were going to run the ball and we succeeded," Melton said. "It opened up the passing game, and that was even working in these conditions."

Blaine advances to play next Friday at Prior Lake.