The time has come to recognize another great program in Ahwatukee that just might get its signature moment.

The Desert Vista boys lacrosse team is on the verge of continuing the 2013-14 trend of winning state titles around here.

Lacrosse is a club sport so it isn’t recognized by the Arizona Interscholastic Association, but a state title is a state title.

The Thunder gets that chance on Friday when they will take on defending champion Brophy at Arcadia at 7:30 p.m.

The teams are big rivals in the lacrosse circles and last year’s title game, won 6-5 by the Broncos, and only made it more heated.

Then the Thunder won in overtime this year during the regular in comeback fashion, 8-7, in a battle of undefeated teams.

Desert Vista still hasn’t loss this year to enter the match at 16-0 while outscoring opponents 272-43. The Broncos are 15-1 and have a scoring edge of 234-63.

In other words, it has the makings of pretty special meeting that was expected from the outset from the season and the one Desert Vista wanted all along.

“Losing to Brophy has been our driving force,” senior Jason King said. “We've been looking forward to this all year.”

The Broncos have three players with at least 25 goals with Branden Gagner leading the way with 40 goals and 12 assists through 14 matches. He is backed by Jake Ghelfi, who scored 28 times and assisted 24 times, while Ryan Murray had with 25 goals and 10 assists.

Brophy has three other players with at least 16 goals. The defense clearly has been just as impressive with goalie Bradley Nordstrom being the final defense.

The Thunder offense has been the best in the state with Colgate-bound Anthony Abbadessa entering the postseason with 65 goals and 39 assists.

Stephen Votto has been just as impressive with 50 goals and 27 assists, while Raphael Vargas added 42 goals and 24 assists.

Five other plays have at least 10 goals, but it is clear the trio is a difficult matchup.

All of the fireworks offensively cast a big shadow, but Thunder goalie Brad Hookom and the defenders deserve just as much credit.

The stats, however, don’t tell the whole story. The Thunder were just impressive last year, but fell short in the most important match.

This year’s squad just has a different feel.

“We have much better senior leadership,” King said. “It makes this team a little different from last year.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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