Hico head coach Keith Wood expected a serious test from previously unbeaten Palmer last week, but his Tigers ran roughshod to a 42-0 lead on their way to a 48-14 win.

Next up to try and challenge unbeaten Hico is Hillsboro, a 3A team loaded with speed but not success. The Eagles have struggled in recent years, though they are off to a 2-2 start this season after going 2-8 in 2012.

"They're pretty scary, I'm telling you," said Wood. "They will struggle for a little bit, then all of a sudden Deontre (Richardson) or somebody else will get in the open, and there they go. They can really scoot."

Richardson, a junior running back and defensive back, should need no introduction to local fans. He had a long touchdown run against Stephenville - albeit in a 63-13 loss to the state champ Yellow Jackets - last fall, and was the only sprinter in District 7-3A to challenge Stephenville's Preston Brown during the spring.

"He can fly, and he's not the only one," said Wood. "They do have the athletes."

So, by the way, does Hico. The Tigers are ranked seventh in Class A Division I by TexasFootball.com and 11th by TheOldCoach.com. The Associated Press does a combined Class A poll and the Tigers received five polling points this week, 15th most in the classification.

"Maybe we're making progress," Wood joked about the rankings.

The Tigers are indeed making progress, starting a season 4-0 for the second time in Wood's five years as head coach. They have defeated Dublin, Rio Vista, Hamilton and Palmer, with Hamilton giving Hico its biggest scare in the annual Hamilton County Championship. Hico led 20-0 after three quarters, then had to hold off a late charge for a 20-14 win.

"I think if we continue to improve and cut down on the darn fumbles and penalties we have a chance to do something special," Wood said.

And that could include a 5-0 start with a win at Hillsboro at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

"We'll have to control their speed, and they run a 3-4 defense with three pretty good-sized down linemen who like to slant and stunt, so we'll have to negate that a little bit," said Wood of the keys to the game. If we can do those things, I think we'll be alright."