Instead of Easter Eggs, the Quad-City Steamwheelers were hunting for two other treasured items hidden to them the last month.

But by turning up some long-missing turnovers on defense, the local Indoor Football League team finally found a victory this holiday weekend.

With the defense forcing four scoreless possessions, two in each half, the Wheelers snapped a three-game losing skid Saturday night, 72-54 over the visiting Tucson Sugar Skills at the TaxSlayer Center.

Newcomer Antonio Marshall recovered a third-down fumble on a key goal-line stand in the second quarter, and a long field-goal attempt on the last play of the half was ultimately ruled no good following much halftime discussion by the officials after hitting the goal-post guide wire.

Q-C's Thailand Pierce also intercepted a first-quarter pass, though he fumbled it right back to Tucson (3-4), which later scored on that possession.

However, Pierce's secondary mate, Davenport Central product Leonard Smith III, later was credited with breaking up a short fourth-down pass into the end zone in the fourth quarter to all but seal the decision for the Wheelers (3-4).

Pierce also denied a last-gasp throw into the end zone in the final seconds to turn the ball over on downs one last time.

After making several adjustments during a bye last week, the defensive work was an epiphany for a club that had created only four turnovers previously this season, three via interceptions in the season opener, and none during a string of heartbreaking, down-to-the-wire losses.

The scoring breaks also were just enough for the E.J. Hilliard-led offense to finally survive a shootout.

The Wheelers scored touchdowns on every possession except a last-play kneel down and a first-quarter drive inside the Tucson 10-yard-line, which resulted in a short field goal by Augustana grad Jacob Stytz.

Hilliard, Q-C's quarterback, and the IFL's leader in TD passes, finished with five more scoring strikes for 29 so far as the Wheelers hit the midseason mark.

Hilliard also rushed for a pair of TDs, one each in the third and fourth quarters.

Quentin Pedroza, No. 2 in the IFL in scoring, caught three of the touchdown passes on long tosses.

Carlos Wiggins and Davenport Central grad Keyvan Rudd also each had a scoring grab while Rudd added a rushing TD.

Running back Zavier Steward also rushed for a pair of first-half TDs to help Q-C celebrate First Responders Night.

The score was tied four times early, at 7, 10, 17 and 24.

Marshall's fumble recovery and the late field-goal miss allowed the Wheelers to build a lead, though, at 38-24 by opening the second-half with Rudd's 8-yard end-around.

Tucson kept answering the Q-C offense, though, to remain within a score before Smith's fourth-quarter pass breakup in the end zone created some breathing room.

The Wheelers visit Bismarck next Sunday.

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