Success seems to be running rampant this year in Ahwatukee football teams.

In addition to Desert Vista taking home the state title, over the past week another local football team took home a championship, this time a national honor, while two others finished in second place.

Two youth Thunder teams - one in the Junior Midget league (ages 12-13) and one in the Pee Wee Division (ages 11-12), and the Wildcats (ages 10-11), a Junior Pee Wee team from the area, all went to the national title game in Florida last week. The Junior Midget Thunder won its division while the other two teams finished second.

All three teams were boundary based: The oldest two teams come from Desert Vista territory while the Wildcats are made up of kids from Ahwatukee Foothills, Chandler and Tempe.

Wildcats coach Greg Gavel said while they came up short in the championship game, his team played hard throughout and were a few mistakes away from taking the title. After being down 14-6 at halftime, the bottom fell out from underneath them to start the second half.

"We had a third quarter catastrophe with a lot of turnovers," he said. "We were just excited to be here, first of all. But with every game we won, the further and further we advanced, the more excited they got. But they wanted to win, and we definitely had a team that could have won it."

The eldest Thunder team was coached by Alan Money and Steve Holmes coached the Pee Wee team.

All three teams are part of the South East Valley Football and Cheer, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, and they play in the American Youth Football League.

To find out more, visit their website at

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