MOLINE, Ill. – E.J. Hilliard threw three touchdown passes and ran in another as the Quad Cities Steamwheelers defeated the Sioux City Bandits 43-38 in a Champions Indoor Football contsest at the TaxSlayer Center here Saturday.
The Bandits (4-2) trailed by eight-or-more points for much of the second half. Darrian Miller caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Liam Nadler to trim the Quad Cities lead to 36-31 with 1:15 left in the game. After a failed onside kick left the Steamwheelers a short field, Hilliard scored on a 1-yard run to give Quad Cities a 43-31 lead with 27 seconds left.
The Bandits responded with a kickoff return for a touchdown by Miller, trimming the lead to 43-38 with 19 seconds left. The Bandits tried another onside kick, but the Steamwheelers recovered and ran out the clock.
Tyler Williams had two rushing touchdowns for Quad Cities (3-2) while Quinton Pedroza caught a pair of scores from Hilliard.
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Nadler had three touchdown passes for the Bandits, including a pair to Brandon Sheperd.
Sioux City had multiple chances to tie or take the lead in the second half. Following a bad snap on a field goal that led to an incomplete pass for the Steamwheelers, the Bandits missed a field goal on the next drive while trailing 33-25. Quad City then drove the ball to the Bandits 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter. On fourth and goal, the Steamwheelers had a bad snap that led to a Westly Johnson sack and a turnover on downs. With Sioux City still down eight points, the Bandits next drive ended with another turnover on downs.
Jacob Stytz made a 34-yard field goal on the ensuing drive, giving Quad City a 36-25 lead with 3:44 left in the game and forcing the Bandits to play catch up.
Sioux City defeated the Steamwheelers 45-35 at the Tyson Events Center on March 18.
The Bandits host the Salina Liberty on Saturday.