CHESTER >> Javon Lindsey-Terrell has seen it all and been through it all.
His sophomore year was a winless one, but that’s when he got to start taking his lumps as Penn Wood’s starting quarterback after coming on in relief in a loss to Inter-Ac champion Haverford School. A year later, he guided the Patriots to the first three wins of the Nick Lincoln era. It was a modest improvement, but nothing that could have forecasted this.
Penn Wood will play for a Del Val League title next week under the lights at Kerr Field. The Patriots made sure to lock up their chance at a title with a resounding 36-6 rout of rival Chester Saturday morning.
Penn Wood takes on Interboro next Friday, and a Patriot win means that those two and Academy Park would share the league title. An Interboro win gives the Bucs the outright crown.
Don’t count Lindsey-Terrell among those surprised that the Patriots can make their Del Val dream a reality.
“This whole group of guys played together in middle school and we went undefeated in eighth grade, so we just thought it would come back around,” Lindsey-Terrell said. “We just had to keep working.”
Lindsey-Terrell might be the poster boy for that work, too. He’s always wanted to be a wide receiver, but took over under center because Lincoln needed him to. This year, he knew it was time to make a switch in a loss to — you guessed it — Haverford School. He and Lincoln talked about Lindsey-Terrell moving to wideout and inserting freshman Desman Johnson Jr. at quarterback. It’s upgraded the team’s overall skill level, and lo and behold, the Patriots are 7-2 overall with a 4-0 mark in Del Val play.
Saturday, Lindsey-Terrell showed that while he’s good at his new position, he can still throw the ball a little bit. He tossed a 26-yard touchdown to Isaiah Council to open the scoring, then later caught a 13-yard pass from Johnson in the back of the end zone right before halftime. The triple-threat athlete finished with six completions for 92 yards and two receptions for 43 yards, but Lincoln admitted after the game that he would have liked to see one more thing.
“We were trying to get him a rushing touchdown, too, but it didn’t work out,” Lincoln said with a smile.
The Patriots have a strong group of receivers around Johnson now, too, and this week, it was Council’s time for a breakout game. He snagged five passes for a game-best 85 yards to go with his score and showed that Penn Wood has the weapons to compete with Interboro and in the playoffs.
“(Lindsey-Terrell) just had faith in me this week,” Council said. “We do have the best receiving corps in the county and in the Del Val, and it was just my week. I think having two quarterbacks helped me, because (Chester) didn’t know what to do with it.”
Penn Wood never felt threatened by Chester (2-7, 0-4), a feeling that was compounded when quarterback/defensive back/punter Jamir Green was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Clippers’ explosive playmaker’s ouster didn’t do LaDontay Bell’s squad any favors, and Chester managed to only piece together 34 total yards of offense.
Devan Freeman did what he could, though. The Chester two-way standout was strong again, burrowing his way to 72 yards on 24 carries despite facing plenty of attention.
“They played a 4-4. It was the kind of scheme to stop the run, but I put my head down and tried to get tough yards,” Freeman said. “It was tough because Jamir’s not just the quarterback. He’s elite. He’s the golden key to the offense. Losing him didn’t just hurt me. It hurt the whole offense.”
It didn’t help, but there’s just something different about this Penn Wood team, too.