At 4-0 in the Del-Val, they share first place with Chester and can claim their third straight league crown with a win over the Clippers Saturday.
Chichester (6-3 overall, 2-2 league) did its best to dampen Penn Wood's title hopes, however. The Eagles, who had surrendered only 39 points through eight games, held the Patriots to 171 total yards and forced four turnovers.
"Our defense has been our strength all year," Chichester coach Ted Woolery said. "They make things happen."
The offense has been another story. The Eagles gained only 69 yards in a 10-0 loss to Unionville the previous week and managed only 96 yards against Penn Wood. They committed seven turnovers as Penn Wood's Todd Jackson picked off three passes, and Eugene Green intercepted two throws.
Green also played a key role in the last two touchdowns of the game: a Rob Craig reception that helped give the Eagles an 8-7 lead, and a 78-yard catch and run that gave the Patriots the victory.
The 5-foot, 10-inch senior would like to forget Craig's 27-yard touchdown catch. Green was defending against the 6-3 Craig when John Ireland lofted a pass into the end zone on a halfback option. Green and Craig both came down with the ball, but Craig was awarded the touchdown as the offensive player involved in a simultaneous possession.
The touchdown drew the Eagles to within one point, at 7-6, with two minutes, 28 seconds left in the third quarter. Ireland passed to Jimmy Walton for 2 points, and Chichester had the lead.
Green had motivation.
"I felt I had to get back at him (Craig) for that touchdown," Green said.
He didn't have long to wait. On the Patriots' first possession of the final quarter, Green split out wide left at the Penn Wood 22. Craig lined up across
from Green in man-to-man coverage.
Guille liked what he saw.
"Nobody in the area can cover Green one-on-one," Guille said. "Our biggest problem is getting him the ball."
Jackson, who had completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Hakeem Thomas in the second quarter, found Green on a slant pattern. Green caught the ball at the Penn Wood 40 and raced the remaining 60 yards untouched for the winning touchdown.
"I look at myself as a big-play player," Green said. "I don't get the ball that much so, when I do, I have to do something with it."
Green made the most of his opportunity, just as the Patriots have made the most of their chances to climb back into the Del-Val race. When the Patriots were 0-5, those chances seemed slim at best.