Juwan Lewis has had this weekend's rematch circled on the calendar since March 15.
That's when the Quad-City Steamwheelers met the Cedar Rapids River Kings for the first time, and Lewis made a star-crossed debut for the local Indoor Football League squad.
Now Q-C's backup running back, Lewis rushed five times for 42 yards before exiting that eventual victory with a knee injury, suffered on an illegal but unflagged horse-collar tackle to prevent a touchdown on his longest run of the night, a 31-yard rumble.
"So this is a game that means something to me," Lewis said Wednesday during his team's media luncheon at the TBK Bank Sports Complex.
"So I owe it to them to go off. It's been a long time coming for this game."
Lewis has only carried the ball five more times since that injury, which required a month of rehabilitation work and cost the Michigan native the starting job.
Fellow veteran Zavier Steward was signed the following week to take over in the backfield, and remains atop the Q-C depth chart.
"I definitely want the ball bad this weekend," said Lewis, who has 90 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries so far this season for an impressive 9 yards-per-carry.
"And, if I can find the dude that horse-collared me to get me hurt, he's got something extra coming to him."
Steward missed the first meeting, 75 minutes away in Cedar Rapids, but also has added motivation for Friday night's rematch in downtown Moline at the TaxSlayer Center.
"My mom's from Cedar Rapids, so a lot of my family is there," said Steward, who has 123 yards and 6 TDs in five games for Q-C.
"I'm from Minneapolis, but my mom grew up there, and so we made a lot of trips to Cedar Rapids when I was a kid to see my grandma, uncles and cousins."
His family members won't be able to attend the game, though, because of a funeral for one of Steward's cousins who passed this week.
Friday Night (High) Lights: The Wheelers are offering a pair of promotions to help attract fans to this weekend's contest.
A tailgate party in the parking lot starts at 5 p.m. and features a band performing, plus food, drinks and bounce houses for the kids.
Season ticket holders have a check-in table to receive a ticket good for a free pork chop sandwich. Concessions are available for purchase for the general public.
"There's rain in the forecast, but if it gets rained out, we'll delay it until the last home game (on June 7), because it's kind of a fan appreciation party," said Wheelers owner Doug Bland.
Rain or shine, Kid's Night still is happening indoors at the admission gates. Children 12-and-younger get in free with a paid adult (one kid per adult).
"We're hoping this helps people get to one of our last games," Bland said. "With this I-74 Bridge construction and the traffic troubles, we have to do whatever we can."
"Our last home game (May 4), the Arsenal Bridge was closed, and Centennial (Bridge) was down to one lane because of flooding. And, of course I-74 only has the one Iowa exit right now. So it's been crazy for our fans to get to and back home from our games."
Great call: The Wheelers nearly upset defending champ Iowa on the road last weekend thanks to a go-ahead TD with 55 seconds left.
The score came on a clutch fourth down-and-goal play call that featured a faked jet sweep to Keyvan Rudd to the left, wide side of the field where Q-C's other receivers were running pass patterns.
That allowed Steward to sneak out of the backfield to receive a wide-open screen pass in the end zone.
"It was a great play call, and a great no-look pass," from QC quarterback E.J. Hilliard, Steward said. "E.J. was staring at the middle linebacker to freeze him in the middle of the field, so there was nobody over there when he flicked the ball out to me."
Besides selling the play to Iowa's league-best defense, Hilliard also got credit for convincing Q-C coach Cory Ross to run that play.
"I just saw what they were doing, so I told coach what could work," said Hilliard, who used his peripheral vision to find Steward. "They'd be blitzing their middle linebacker the whole game, so I knew Steward was going to be wide open."