SPRINGHILL, LA (KSLA) - Dozens upon dozens of friends, family and North Webster Knights filled midfield at Baucum-Farrar Stadium on Friday night to honor the memory of 17-year-old Jaylen Thomas.
The event held prayers for peace as Thomas' number, 24, lit up the stadium scoreboard and the visitors stands. Thomas was a running back for the Knights and his coach said he wouldn't have his memory celebrated any other way.
"It's Friday night at North Webster High School, something that Jaylen absolutely loved," NWHS Head Coach John Ware said. "He loved every bit of this. He loved being a Knight. He loved being from North Webster High School and this was about him."
Thomas was shot and killed in a Springhill church parking lot Monday night. Less than 48 hours later, Springhill Police report 17-year-old Josh Lewis turned himself in and confessed to shooting Thomas over a disagreement.
Lewis is now charged with Second Degree Murder.
For Thomas' mother, Danicka Thomas-Hayes, seeing such a large showing from the community to honor her son helped her say goodbye.
"I'm very, very, very pleased and I'm very thankful and just grateful to the town and everybody here, everybody for everything that they've done to just reach out and show love to my family."
Thomas' funeral services are set to be held inside the NWHS gymnasium at 2:30 p.m. this Sunday.
After many prayers, the vigil ended with every attendee holding their lit candles to the night sky as one final play was called over the intercom.
"He breaks free! We think he could go all the way," the announcer said. "Number 24, headed to the back takes it in!"
"It's Knight Time!" The announcer exclaimed as fireworks lit up the night, rivaling the candlelight below.