ST. JOSEPH – Devin Hester might want to watch his back. St. Joseph-Ogden's Lukas Graves just might be gunning for his job.
Graves returned two consecutive punts for touchdowns in the second quarter Friday as the Spartans beat the Watseka 53-13.
"I knew as soon as he picked (the second punt) up, I knew it was gone," S-JO coach Dick Duval said. "It's an awesome feeling. That's something I've always appreciated – when you work on things and you see it happen."
"(Graves) is just a playmaker," Spartans quarterback Tyler Johnson said. "He makes plays whenever you need him to, and he catches every ball I throw to him, almost.
"He'll just go out there and make plays that need to be made, and it really helps out a lot."
"Those plays work if everybody does their job, and then some," Graves said. "It's just one of those games where everybody stepped up, and basically all I had to do was run.
"Everybody made awesome blocks," Graves added, "and basically all I had to do was just look forward, and nothing but green in front of me."
In addition to the two touchdowns Graves scored on returns, he also caught a 10 yard pass from Johnson in the end zone, a catch which Duval described as "tremendous."
"I told him before the game, 'I think you're an all-state player,' " Duval said. "And he didn't do anything to make me not think that he's an all-state player."
That may be the closest thing to a glowing compliment that Duval was willing to give out.
"It may sound weird, being 7-0 you think you ought to be real satisfied," Duval said. "But there's plenty of things that we've got to get a lot better at if we want to be a good playoff team.
"We can't just be satisfied with getting in and being there for a week. We want to look at the big picture, so there are a lot of things that we want to work on and improve on so that we can take (our game) to the level we want to take it to.
"We're not really happy with our defense tonight. It just seemed like we gave up way too many yards," Duval said.
Will Lindsey ran for 244 yards and three touchdowns, including an impressive 99 yard sprint, for the Spartans..
SJ-O's Blaize Cumbow had two interceptions and Zach Flessner and Lucas Gones each had one.