At 3-4, Hillsboro might seem like a below-average football team.
The Burros are anything but.
They gave undefeated Beech (7-0) a close game before falling 20-14 last week.
Hillsboro's difficult schedule started with a season-opening loss to nationally ranked Brentwood Academy (6-0).
After that, the Burros played more tough opponents in Gallatin, Independence and Christ Presbyterian Academy.
Hillsboro coach Maurice Fitzgerald believes the close loss to Beech was a good barometer of his team's progress.
"It's probably a carry-over from the CPA game, believing we can play with those guys," said Fitzgerald, whose team beat the Lions 30-28 two weeks ago. "At the end (against Beech) we had some opportunities, but just didn't capitalize. Beech has an exceptional running back in (Kaemon) Dunlap. He makes them go."
One Hillsboro opponent stands out from the rest.
"The only team that is clearly better than anybody we've seen is BA," Fitzgerald said. "Before we played them (former BA) Coach (Carlton) Flatt, a friend of mine, said, 'This may be the best team we've had in a long time.' He told me, 'This is the first time we've had an SEC-type kicker and punter along with all that other stuff.' "
Harrison Smith, who got BA out of a jam with a 60-yard punt in Friday's 26-0 win over Baylor, is 12th nationally in Kohl's Kicking Camps punter rankings for the senior class. He took an unofficial visit to Vanderbilt a few weeks ago.
Hillsboro tailback Jacob Frazier has rushed for over 1,100 yards.
Burros linebacker T.J. Neal and receiver Trey Dickerson are both drawing interest from college coaches.
Fitzgerald is in his first season at Hillsboro after going 124-82 with two state titles in 18 years at Pearl-Cohn and Stratford.
"It's taken until now to feel like you've gotten the true trust out of the kids, doing things the way we wanted it to be done," Fitzgerald said. "I think we're all on the same page now."
Fitzgerald has spent most of his career coaching Metro teams.
"It's a little tougher coaching the inner-city programs because of the some of the situations you are presented with, but it's where my heart is," Fitzgerald said. "I don't mind doing the extra things that you have to do. That comes with it so you embrace it."
Hillsboro visits Centennial (3-4) in the Burros' third straight road game Friday.