BEYOND THE GAME: THE EXTRA YARD
BY MARJORIE ACOSTA
Every football game starts with the swift kick of a football. In many cases the winning point is made by a kicker. The pressure behind this position is tremendous. Billy Mitchell, the kicker for the WPPO Wildcats knows exactly how it feels. Billy is the kicker, punter and receiver for the wildcats. Several victories lied in his hands, or in this case, his feet. While most of us would buckle under that kind of pressure, Billy thrives on it.
His dedication to the game stems beyond his team practices; Billy trains with a private kicking coach several times a week. Just to make sure he stays well rounded he also trains with his strength and conditioning coach Adrian Beason who says, “It’s about being an athlete, about being a football player. That stigma about being in one position to me is a thing of the past.”
Despite his rigorous training schedule, Billy maintains a 4.0 GPA and takes advanced classes. His dedication comes as no surprise to those who know him well, especially his biggest fan, his dad. “I would see the level of concentration, stubbornness, and I just saw that kind of grow within him. And when he got into football he worked harder and harder to strive for perfection” says Bill Mitchell of the innate talent he saw in his son.
Billy is ranked as one of the top kickers in the state of Florida. While he’s determined to maintain his spot at the top, Billy wants to be known as a football player, not just a kicker. “Kicking is just something I can bring for the team and I put my heart into it just like if I did at receiver.”
As the season comes to a close, Billy’s training is hardly over. It’s just another day in the life of an all-star with a clear goal: to make it to the NFL.