CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Quinton Pedroza enjoyed some big games to garner major-college recruiting interest as a California high schooler.
The wide receiver had a couple of memorable performances after transferring from Utah to Hawaii, too, before a campaign that included more highlights last season for the Quad-City Steamwheelers.
However, prior to Friday night's 58-36 victory for the Wheelers at Cedar Rapids, Pedroza never scored six touchdowns in a game.
"Maybe in 'Madden.' But not in real life," Pedroza said after posting video game numbers to help Q-C improve to 2-1.
Pedroza finished with 6 receptions for 105 yards and 4 TDs, plus added 21 yards and 2 more scores on 3 rushing attempts.
His season highs last year were 6 receptions, 92 yards and 3 scores, but he only ran with the ball twice all last season.
"I'm just blessed tonight was my night," Pedroza said after Q-C's first road game since joining the Indoor Football League last fall.
"Two weeks ago it was Keyvan. This week it happened to be me. Next week? Who knows? I'm just so happy to be part of this team because we have so many weapons, and we all want to do whatever we can do to see each other succeed."
The effort gained a measure of revenge against a team that cut Pedroza in training camp last season, leading him to the Wheelers along with another Cedar Rapids reject, quarterback E.J. Hilliard.
However, Hilliard hardly conspired with Pedroza on any retribution.
Instead, Hilliard was both patient and efficient, hitting 12 of 19 passes for 147 yards and six scoring strikes, the other two to Rudd.
Hilliard also rushed 4 times for 30 yards as the Wheelers outgained the hosts, 287-168, scoring on every possession except the last, when Q-C mercifully knelt on the ball.
"It's whatever the defense gives you, you have to take it," said Pedroza, who became the main target with Cedar Rapids intent on forcing Q-C to throw short routes, rather than allow any big plays deep.
"If your number is called, and the ball is in the air, 'See ball, get ball' is my motto."
Only one of Pedroza's TDs was longer than 13 yards, and that 35-yard bomb marked Q-C's only one-play scoring drive of the night.
The Wheelers had four possessions last six plays or longer, the longest a 9-play march for their final score.
"It was a stellar team effort," Q-C coach Cory Ross beamed.
The stellar solo effort basically doubled Pedroza's output this season to 13 grabs for 225 yards and 5 TDs in three games.
In a strong all-conference bid cut short to 10 games by injuries last season, Pedroza posted 25 catches for 392 yards and 11 TDs.
"Because he was banged up, Q showed up in some of the best shape I've seen," said Ross, a former NFL running back.
"He was a quick player last year, but the speed he runs his routes at now, I don't think anyone can cover him one-on-one. He's still physical and really gets after it. He loves to block. He loves to play on special teams. But he's become more than the player we expected him to be."