The lightning was off in the distance, southeast of Karl Kiefer Stadium, near where Desert Vista calls home.
It almost served notice: This was going to be the Thunder's game.
With two weather delays Friday night disrupting any momentum for this newly-crowned Ahwatukee Memorial Bowl, Desert Vista had a great first drive, took advantage of some Mountain Pointe mistakes and came away with an impressive win.
It will officially go down as a 1-0 victory for Desert Vista, although the Thunder will surely recount all the scoring after getting a 24-0 lead, as officials decided to call it a forfeit due to the concern for the safety of fans and players because of lightening and unruliness.
The game was stopped twice because of lightning, with the second one coming with 2 minutes and 48 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The fans were asked to leave, and officials considered restarting after everyone was gone but eventually came to a decision to make it a forfeit when neither team wanted to continue on Saturday and another weather cell was heading north from Maricopa.
"The schedule wouldn't allow us to resume it at a later date so it was decided to call it a forfeit," Mountain Pointe principal Bruce Kipper said.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn't the only concern. During the first delay, which came with 4 minutes left before the half and Desert Vista leading 14-0, the student bodies converged between the area in between the track fence and the Pride's locker room.
According to Kipper, several arrests were made and the police - with 20 on hand - didn't feel it could control the crowd. Eventually, the public address announcer asked everyone to go back to their seats.
Play resumed without further major incidents, but after halftime the weather became a concern again and the PA announcer asked everyone to clear the stands in the third quarter and go home.
Eventually school and game officials came together and called the forfeit.
"It was the decision that was made," Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan said. "They called it."
Because it was decided not to wait out the storm and it was decided not to resume Saturday or a later date, it became a forfeit instead of regular defeat, based on the National Federation of High School rules according to Mountain Pointe athletic director Ian Moses.
Before all of that, Desert Vista (3-0) had it going against Mountain Pointe (1-2) to end a two-game losing streak to its neighborhood rival.
"I'm feel like I am on top the world," junior wide receiver Kaleb Germinaro said from a reverberating visitor's locker room. "We came out strong and set the tone."
The Thunder went 80 yards on six plays to open the game. Desert Vista did most of its damage right up the gut as Dominic Kereluk had a 48-yard run on the back of a 10-yard run by Matt Smith. Kereluk, who had eight carries for 77 yards, finished off the drive with an 8-yard score.
"We had some alignment issues on the first drive," Vaughan said. "We did a good job after that, but they took advantage of it. They came out and played hard."
It stayed that way until the second quarter when Desert Vista's Ryan Wagner intercepted an errant throw by Mountain Pointe quarterback Dillan Johnson (13 rushes for 49 yards, plus 51 yards passing). Wagner returned the ball intended for wide receiver Jalen Brown 27 yards for the score and a 14-0 lead with 10:34 remaining in the second quarter.
The Pride's best scoring chance ended with another turnover just as they were finally getting some momentum offensively late in the second quarter. DeJhon Edwards was corralled on a sweep, changed direction and then lost control of the ball as Wagner recovered the loose ball.
It wasn't much later that the first delay was called and after the break Desert Vista controlled most of the action.
Senior running back Mike Arredondo keyed the final scoring drive with several gashing runs against the Pride defense, which played most of the game without its top defensive player in middle linebacker Jordan Leal, who was on crutches when played resumed after the first delay.
The drive ended with Kereluk's second touchdown, but it was Arredondo (9 rushes, 70 yards) doing most of the damage.
"I've been waiting for this game for a long time," said Arredondo, who missed last season because of a knee injury. "It feels so good to come in here and get a win."