Brock Billman suffered a tiny wound last year that put him in the hospital for two weeks and wiped out half his junior season.The initial wound — a quarter-inch cut on his lower left leg — led to a strep type A infection that spread through the leg and up into his left eye. It could have killed him without proper treatment.”I had a 104-degree temperature,” Billman said. “I went to my doctor. He said, ‘We’ve got to get you into a hospital right now.’ “
Now Billman, a senior linebacker and fullback for North Fort Myers, said he’s fully recovered and in the best shape of his life.In addition to lifting weights twice a week with his Red Knights teammates, Billman has been going to Athlete Profile, where he has rebuilt his 5-foot-9 frame to a solid 198 pounds, with the goal of adding 12 more.
“I don’t want to look back and say, ‘What else could I have done?’ I don’t want to look back and have any regrets,” said Billman, who has played at the varsity level since late in his freshman season.”He’s probably one of the best kids I’ve coached in the 10 or 11 years I’ve been coaching football,” North coach James Iandoli said. “I would go out on a limb and say that. He’s a fantastic high school linebacker. He’s probably going to lead the area in tackles or be in the top three.”Billman had 45 tackles after last season’s first three games. He appeared to be on pace to finish with 150 tackles until the infection derailed his season. Instead, Billman finished with 71 tackles. He watched his team’s final three games from the sidelines.
“I was feeling sick the whole time,” Billman said. “It basically ruined my whole season.”The Red Knights, coming off a 3-7 record, will have new players from last year’s undefeated junior varsity and freshman teams joining returning varsity starters such as junior quarterback Alvin Kelty, senior receiver Jeremiah Tucker and sophomore running back Noel Devine.
Billman, primarily a linebacker, also will run the ball some at fullback.”I want to be the defensive player of the year,” Billman said. “I want to lead the area in tackles.”I’m going to go out this year, have some fun, and play as a team. Goals? I want to see everybody play together. I want us to work together, play together and win together.”