SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- A late interception by Sunny Hills denied Santa Barbara their first CIF-SS championship in 30 years.
Deacon Hill was picked off near the end zone with around 30 seconds left in the game and the Lancers celebrated a 24-21 CIF-SS Division 8 title at San Marcos High School.
Sunny Hills took a 24-21 lead with under two minutes left on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Luke Duxbury to Vincent Silva.
But after a 35-yard kickoff return from Jackson Gonzales, Santa Barbara marched down the field and got to the 19-yard line of Sunny Hills before turning the ball over.
Santa Barbara grabbed a 21-17 lead with under five minutes left on a terrific quarterback keeper from Deacon Hill. The Wisconsin-verbal commit raced 29 yards for the touchdown.
Earlier in the fourth quarter Duxbury found Silva on a short touchdown pass to put the Lancers up 17-14.
Santa Barbara led 14-3 at the half but Hill's screen pass was intercepted on their opening drive of the second half and the Lancers cashed in on the turnover with a TD run by Silva, who scored all three touchdowns for Sunny Hills.
The Golden Tornado (Dons) controlled most of the first half.
After a short field goal by Sunny Hills to open the game, Santa Barbara took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter on a 1-yard TD plunge by the junior Deacon Hill.
With under seven minutes left in the half, Deacon Hill found Dakota Hill (no relation) on a 20-yard touchdown pass over the middle and Santa Barbara led by 11 at halftime.
Santa Barbara ends the season 11-3. The Dons captured their first outright league title since 2001 and won their first playoff game in 30 years.
But the season ends just short of their first CIF title since 1989.