The Jena Giants fell to the Union Parish Farmers last Friday night in Jena 24-16, putting an end to their dreams of playing for a state championship in New Orleans this weekend.
The historic football team set many records this year, including being the first Jena team to ever win a quarterfinal game and advance to the semifinals. They began the playoffs ranked number one in their division, a feat that had also never occurred in the history of Giant football.
The Jena Giants drew one of the largest crowds to ever attend a football game in Jena as thousands of fans and supporters from across the state attended the semifinal game last Friday night.
Along with thousands of Jena-area residents, fans of other schools were there cheering for the Giants, including LaSalle, Caldwell, Grant, Buckeye, Winnfield, Bunkie, Many, and many others.
In addition, the Jena Giant Athletics livestream Facebook page, operating by Rachel Stevens, had nearly 2,000 viewers at one point during the game.
The game was the feature of news and sports outlets from across the state with many Louisiana High School Athletic Associ-ation officials on hand to witness the two powerhouses do battle.
As the final horn blew and Union advanced to the state championship, a crushed Jena Giant team was consoled by coaches, family and friends who were appreciative of their great season.
Jena’s 15 seniors certainly left a mark on Giant Athletics as noted by Giants’ Sports Writer Austin Whatley.
“These seniors finished their career with 36 wins, won the district championship all four years and never lost a district game going 18-0 in district,” Whatley said. “They had only the third undefeated regular season in school history and set the record for most wins in a season with 12. They also had the most career playoff wins by a senior class with six.”
Head Coach Jay Roark now has 96 wins in his career with nine playoff wins. He continues to work and build a first-class program with his eyes set on getting to the Superdome to play for a state championship.
Photos of the band:
Photos of cheer and dance:
Photos of the crowd: