SHREVEPORT, La. -- Saturday afternoon's clash between Louisiana state power River Ridge John Curtis and Lufkin at the Battle on the Border High School Football Showcase certainly lived up to hype.

Three second-half turnovers and four gaffes on special teams ending up costing second-ranked Lufkin in a 32-25 loss to John Curtis, Louisiana's top-ranked team in Class 3A, on a cool and overcast day at Independence Stadium.

Lufkin (2-1) twice had an opportunity to even the score in the final two minutes of the game. Panthers quarterback Trey Cumbie was sacked on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line with 1:56 remaining, and then intercepted on the first play of Lufkin's ensuing drive.

The interception was Lufkin's fifth turnover of the game, coming after four lost fumbles -- two on the Panthers' first two snaps of the game and one each in the third and fourth quarter.

Lufkin quarterback Trey Cumbie passed for 252 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday's 32-25 loss to River Ridge John Curtis in Shreveport, La.. (Christopher R. Vinn,

"You can't have (five) turnovers and beat anybody, much less a team of that caliber," Lufkin coach Todd Quick said. "The effort was good. I was proud of the kids; they fought, but you've got to clean it up. You can't do that to get to the point where we want to be. I told the kids the effort was good, but they can't play that sloppy."

John Curtis (2-0) junior Eli Brown returned a Lufkin punt 33 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 6:19 remaining. Following three consecutive misses on PAT tries, Kody Schexnaydre was true on this one, putting the Patriots up 32-25.

Lufkin took over on the ensuing drive at its own 31, and moved the ball to the John Curtis 5-yard line on an 18-yard completion from Cumbie to Demarrea Houston. Ellis Jackson rushed for no gain on first down, Cumbie threw an incompletion on second, and then ran for two yards to set up the pivotal fourth-and-goal.

The Panthers lined up in a jumbo backfield, which prompted John Curtis to burn a timeout. Lufkin returned to the field in the spread, and Patriots junior defensive back Theodore Samples rushed free for the sack.

"We went out there in a heavy set before, and they called timeout to match our personnel," Quick said. "We figure we'd go out there and spread them out because they were gonna go in that heavy personnel the second time. They brought two off the edge, we missed one. They made a good adjustment on it."

Lufkin forced John Curtis into a three-and-out, and after just a 30-yard punt, the Panthers took over at the Patriots' 37 with 57 seconds remaining. But on the very first play, Cumbie was picked off by A.J. Huff to seal the John Curtis victory.

Lufkin receiver Terry Mark had eight catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers' 32-25 loss to River Ridge John Curtis on Saturday in Shreveport, La. (Christopher R. Vinn,

"That's the whole reason of playing in something like this," Quick said. "If you play a bunch of donkeys, and it doesn't put you in a bind, you don't ever know how you're going to react when it gets tough. You've got to put the kids in that position early in the year, so that the next time it happens you've already made the adjustments on it."

Lufkin outgained John Curtis for the game, 370-320. Cumbie was 18 of 25 passing for 252 yards and three touchdowns, including a 34-yarder to KeKe Coutee that gave Lufkin a 25-19 lead with 9:19 to play in the third quarter.

Jacob Mark then intercepted Patriots quarterback Myles Washington deep in Lufkin territory to thwart what was a promising drive for John Curtis.

But Lufkin could not capitalize, fumbling on its next two possessions, the last of which gave John Curtis the ball at the Lufkin 5-yard line. Washington's 1-yard scoring run three plays later tied the game at 25-25 with 7:28 remaining in the game.

"I thought we gave ourself an opportunity to win the football game, defensively," Quick said. "You just cannot turn the ball over and play that sloppy. You can't give good teams more possessions than they're already going to get."

Terry Mark had seven first-half receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns, but was limited to just one catch for eight yards over the game's final 24 minutes. Cumbie finished the first half 12-of-14 passing for 151 yards.

"They were shaded to the other side, double-covering KeKe, and they were having one-on-one on the back side," Quick said of Lufkin's first-half success through the air. "They were giving that little stop route to us, so we just kept throwing it. It was a pretty good connection between the two."

Lufkin running Steven Sowell rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers' 32-25 loss to River Ridge John Curtis on Saturday in Shreveport, La.. (Christopher R. Vinn,

Senior running back Steven Sowell led Lufkin with 116 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

John Curtis' split-back veer attack netted 223 rushing yards on 58 attempts. Donte Jones led the way for the Patriots with 132 yards on 23 attempts. Devon Benn added 80 yards on 21 carries, while Washington was 3-for-4 for 97 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback added 21 yards and three scoring runs on the ground.

The Patriots took a 13-0 first-quarter lead after Lufkin fumbled on its first two plays of the game. Washington had touchdown runs of 5 and 1 yards, before the Panthers responded on their next series when Sowell reached the end zone from 7 yards.

John Curtis' first pass attempt of the game was good for a 65-yard touchdown from Washington to Jacob Bordelon, which gave the Patriots a 19-7 lead with 5:51 remaining in the first half.

Lufkin responded with a pair of touchdown passes from Cumbie to Terry Mark on the Panthers' final two drives of the half. The first touchdown -- a 14-yarder -- trimmed the deficit to 19-13 at the 2:32 mark of the second quarter. Cumbie hit a wide-open Mark in stride for the game-trying, 52-yard score with just 27 seconds to play until halftime.

The Panthers are off next week before opening District 16-5A play on Sept. 26 at arch-rival Nacogdoches. John Curtis, meanwhile, plays Reserve (La.) East St. John on Friday.

River Ridge John Curtis 32, No. 2 Lufkin 25

Battle on the Border High School Football Showcase
At Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.

John Curtis              13     6     0    13    --    32
Lufkin                         0   19    6      0     --   25

First Quarter
JC--Myles Washington 5 run (kick failed), 4:03.
JC--Washington 1 run (Kody Schexnaydre kick), 2:09.
Second Quarter
LUF--Steven Sowell 7 run (Javier Montes kick), 9:43.
JC--Jacob Bordelon 65 pass from Washington (kick failed), 5:51.
LUF--Terry Mark 14 pass from Trey Cumbie (kick failed), 2:32.
LUF--Mark 52 pass from Cumbie (kick failed), :27.
Third Quarter
LUF--KeKe Coutee 34 pass from Cumbie (kick failed), 9:19.
Fourth Quarter
JC--Washington 1 run (kick failed), 7:28.
JC--Eli Brown 33 punt return (Schexnaydre kick), 6:19.

                                              JC                   LUF
First Downs                             16                     19
Total Yards                            320                   370
Rushes-Yards                   58-223             32-118
Passing Yards                          97                   252
Comp.-Att.-Int.                    3-4-1            18-25-1
Punts-Avg.                         3-26.7              2-34.0
Fumbles-Lost                          5-1                   5-4
Penalties-Yards                     7-45                 7-53

RUSHING--John Curtis, Donte Jones 23-132, Devon Benn 21-80, Myles Washington 13-21, Santos Morerira 1-(-10). Lufkin, Steven Sowell 22-116, Ellis Jackson 2-5, KeKe Coutee 1-1, Dalvin Smith 1-1, Trey Cumbie 6-(-5).
PASSING--John Curtis, Washington 3-4-1--97. Lufkin, Cumbie 18-25-1--252.
RECEIVING--John Curtis, Jacob Bordelon 2-82, Jones 1-15. Lufkin, Terry Mark 8-109, Coutee 5-73, Sowell 3-49, Demarrea Houston 1-18, Kordell Rogers 1-3.