Sunny Hills football team defeats Santa Barbara 24-21 to take CIF-Southern Section Division 8 title


The Lancer football team celebrates its first CIF title in 27 years by posing with the championship plaque in the rain Nov. 30 at San Marcos High School stadium. Photo taken by Accolade photographer Paul Yasutake

Sunny Hills football captured its first CIF title in 27 years after a 24-21, come-from-behind victory Nov. 30 against Santa Barbara at San Marcos High School stadium.

“It’s still surreal,” head football coach Peter Karavedas said. “I’m really proud of our guys; they battled tonight, and they battled all year.”

With a CIF-Southern Section Division 8 title on the line and 32 seconds remaining in the game, the No. 1-ranked Lancers (12-2, 4-1 Freeway League) sealed the win over the No. 2-ranked Dons (11-3, 5-0 Channel League) when wide receiver and defensive back senior Wilson Cal intercepted a pass in the Sunny Hills endzone.

“I knew that as soon as the ball fell into my hands, we had a a ring on our fingers,” Cal said.

Before that big catch, the chance for a CIF championship for the Lancers was slim with 4:42 left in the rain-filled game.

A 29-yard touchdown rush from Santa Barbara’s star quarterback junior Deacon Hill put the Dons — also facing a CIF title drought of 30 years — up 21-17.

Just a few plays and a fourth down conversion later, Sunny Hills quarterback senior Luke Duxbury found running back and linebacker junior Vincent Silva for a 58-yard touchdown reception to put the Lancers up 24-21 with 1:38 left in the game.

“That touchdown felt insane,” said Silva, who finished the evening with two scoring receptions and a rushing touchdown. “Words can’t describe it, but we knew that we could win that game.”

With the win, the team moves on to the CIF State tournament. The bracket will be released Sunday, Dec. 1.

“We’ve been so focused on this week that the state [tournament] is all extra,” Karavedas said. “We’ve already accomplished our goal this season.”

For an extended recap with details from the game, read this story.