Buyoued by big tight ends, Battlefield looks to bolster playoff positioning

Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post - Battlefield senior tight end Cameron Skaff (49) is one half of an imposing duo leading the Bobcats’ playoff push.

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Any high school offense with the luxury of employing one 6-foot-3, 235-pound tight end creates an instant mismatch. Each week when Battlefield rolls out two of them – seniors Brandon Whaley and Cameron Skaff – it produces a situation that’s simply not fair for opposing defenses.

“We’re pretty much unstoppable when you put us together,” said Whaley, who last month committed to play at Delaware.

Through eight games, Skaff (James Madison) leads the Bobcats (5-3, 5-3 Cardinal District) with 23 receptions and Whaley has collected a team-high four touchdowns.

Coach Mark Cox sees his two senior targets as “identical,” citing the pair’s size, experience (Whaley played as a freshman on Battlefield’s 2010 state title squad), and skill sets.

While it’s true that Skaff and Whaley are used almost interchangeably in Battlefield’s pro-style offense, each has developed a specialty.

“[Cameron’s] more of the motion tight end, the H-Back style,” Whaley said. “I’m more an on-the-line-of-scrimmage type of tight end, so we work out pretty well together.”

Despite the play of its tight ends, Battlefield’s offense has seen its share of missteps with a platoon of otherwise first-year pass catchers and a new starting quarterback in junior Matt Gallagher. In a 7-0 loss to Forest Park on Sept. 6, the Bobcats turned the ball over twice and failed to eclipse 50 yards rushing.

“After my junior year, we lost a whole lot of senior starters,” Whaley said. “This year we pretty much had to start from scratch, especially with a new quarterback.”

In recent weeks, Battlefield – and Gallagher – have found their stride. In his last three games, Gallagher has tossed seven touchdowns to zero interceptions, and the Bobcats went 2-1.

“It took some getting used to to work with [Gallagher],” Whaley said. “But throughout season and practice, we’ve finally made a good connection. He’s treating me well with some good passes and a couple touchdowns here and there.”

Battlefield has struggled to string more than two consecutive wins together so far this season – a trend it will try to buck this Friday when it hosts Osbourn Park.

Cox thinks his team needs a strong finish in order to control its own destiny in the 6A North playoff hunt.

“I think 6-4 teams will have a pretty good shot of making it into the playoffs,” Cox said. “We need to win one more to make sure.”

 
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