After throwing an interception with Althoff holding a 24-14 lead with six minutes remaining on Friday, Mascoutah quarterback Tim Parks looked in the stands as he left the playing surface at Lindenwood Stadium.
Parks didn't like what he saw.
"People were leaving,'' Parks said. "You don't want to see that.''
What happened next was something Althoff coach Ken Turner certainly didn't want to see.
Making just the third start of his varsity career, the 6-foot-3 185-pound Parks threw a pair of touchdown passes in the final three minutes -- including a four-yard scoring strike to Alex Oltmann with 32 seconds remaining for the game winning score -- as the Indians posted a remarkable 26-24 victory.
The win moves Mascoutah to 2-1 for the season heading into its Mississippi Valley Conference opener at home on Friday against Waterloo. More importantly, it gives a young quarterback a boost in confidence that he can make plays in even the most pressure-packed situations.
"I had never been in a situation like that in an atmosphere like a Mascoutah-Althoff game,'' Parks said. "It all happened so fast that I don't really remember a lot of what went on.
"I wasn't really nervous. I just remember being tired. It was at the part of the game where all the hits you took in the first half start to come back. Your body starts aching a little bit.''
Parks made the Crusaders ache for much of the night as he accounted for 370 yards of total offense and had a hand in all four of the Indians touchdowns.
Parks finished the game completing 20-of-43 pass attempts for 269 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 101 yards on 16 carries, including a 7-yard touchdown run in the first half.
The Belleville News-Democrat Player of the Week, Parks performance came as no surprise to Indians coach Scott Battas, who moved Parks to quarterback from wide receiver his season.
"Tim took a snap or two when Zac Lindsay was out of a game but we had an experienced kid in there. But as a wide receiver, Tim was still involved in the offense and he did a nice job for us,'' Battas said.
"But for a kid who was making just his third varsity start, to take his team down for two scores in the last three minutes of the game, shows what kind of athlete and competitor he is. He's got a long way to go, but he's getting better every week.
A three spot athlete at Mascoutah where he also competes in basketball and track and field, Parks played quarterback as a freshman and also was the quarterback of the Indians junior-varsity team last year.
But with Lindsay calling the signals for the Indians varsity in '12, Parks more then held his own at wide receiver. Parks caught 18 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns last season.
That kind of athletic ability enabled Parks to torment the Crusaders defense both with his arm and legs.
"Tim is an athletic kid and so he did a lot of nice things out of the pocket as well in it,'' Battas said. I think what he's done the last couple of weeks is that he's seeing the whole field and he's taking what defenses are giving him.
"When defenses back off and the pocket opens up and he's got room, we want him to run the ball.''
Trailing 24-14, Parks drove the Indians down the field, closing to within 24-18 when he connected with Barry Richardson on an 8-yard scoring play with three minutes left.
Then the Indians defense held tight.
"I knew if we scored we still had a chance because we still had two time-outs and our defense had done a great job all night,'' Battas said. "We needed a stop and we got it.
Keyed by a 28-yard completion to Andy Norrenburns, Parks drove the Indians inside the Crusaders 10-yard line. Following an Althoff penalty, Parks hooked up with Oltmann for the game-winning score.
Aside from moving Mascoutah to 2-1 for the season, the win also proved something else to Parks and his teammates.
"The offensive line did a great job of blocking all night,'' Parks said. " This team is comparable to the one last year. The one thing we do and it happens in almost every sport, is that we have trouble finishing games.
"Last year in football, if we make five plays we're in the playoffs. It was good for us to finally get over the hump and make some plays with the game on the line.''