NEW ORLEANS, La. (KPLC) - Jennings Cinderella run came to an end tonight as top-ranked St. James defeated the Bulldogs, 51-14, in the Class 3A state title game at the Superdome in New Orleans. It was the Bulldogs’ first state title game appearance in 27 years. Former McNeese coach Matt Viator led the Dogs to a state championship in 1992.
“I’m disappointed," Jennings head coach Rusty Phelps admitted after the loss. "Take it from a guy who has been trying to get here for 31 years. It was a great experience for us and for everybody that ends up 5-5, it’s a great story that if you get hot in the playoffs, you have an opportunity to make it and that’s what this system is about. I think it’s a great system that we have. It gave us an opportunity to catch fire a little bit towards the end of the year and we beat some really good football teams who could’ve been here also through the course of the playoffs.”
Jennings had quite the start to begin Friday night’s game as Kaylum Levergne recovered a St. James fumble on the opening kickoff to set up a Jalen Lewis touchdown run that put the Bulldogs up by seven. The top-seeded Wildcats would then answer with a score of their own by Sean Lebeouf and then go on to score 24 more unanswered points, with quarterback Shamar Smith being responsible for the three touchdowns, to take a 31-7 lead at halftime.
The Bulldogs were then outscored 20-7 in the second half with their lone score being a 57-yard touchdown run by sophomore Trevor Etienne.
Despite dominating the time of possession battle with 28:54 to St. James 19:06, the Dogs committed one more turnover than the Wildcats and were outgained by St. James 453-228.
The Bulldogs end their season with a 9-6 overall record.