SANTA BARBARA Calif.- The inaugural girls flag football rivalry game between Santa Barbara and San Marcos was a thriller won by the Dons 20-18.
The game began with a pick-six by Santa Barbara's Carolina Esparza and ended with the Royals stopped just short of the goal line on the final play.
The Dons took a 14-0 lead in the first half on a short touchdown pass from Dayzia Mendoza to Esparza.
Mendoza had 2 touchdown passes in the game.
The Royals cut the deficit to 14-12 on the final play of the half as Mianna Sturm connected with Rio Chesluk on a 56-yard bomb.
Those two also hooked up for a touchdown with five minutes left to give San Marcos their first lead of the game at 18-14.
The Dons regained the lead in the final minute and a half as Mendoza threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Alcocer Vasquez.
The Royals drove the field and thought they had the game won with a touchdown in the final second but they were called for an illegal forward pass.
San Marcos got to run an untimed play from the Dons 15 yard line and got the ball to the five before Santa Barbara pulled the flag of Peyton Sperling who had caught a short pass and ended an exciting game.