MFHS alum returns to coach Mustang defense



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Richard Zowie/The Highlander

Cyril Lemon’s football career included holding down the offensive line for the Marble Falls Mustangs and University of North Texas Mean Green. After briefly playing for the New Orleans Saints, he has returned to Marble Falls to coach the defensive line in football.

By Richard Zowie

The Highlander

Hurricane Katrina brought him and his family from New Orleans to Marble Falls, where he played football for the Mustangs as an offensive guard and graduated from high school in 2011.

He started for three years, including his senior year, when the Mustangs averaged 27 points per game.

And now, following a collegiate career at the University of North Texas and then a brief professional football career, Cyril Lemon has returned to Marble Falls High School.

His first day in his new career as a coach began July 31. Lemon will serve as defensive line coach in football, assistant coach in girls basketball and shot put and discus coach in track and field.

“I was looking for a coaching job,” said Lemon, 24. “This came up and it was a great opportunity to come back and help out with the community and with the kids. It’s cool just being back and seeing the field I used to play on and being in the same building.”

Lemon said the last time he was at a Marble Falls football game was the year after he graduated from MFHS.

For him, the most fulfilling part of coaching is seeing how the student athletes progress.

“You see one kid and know you had a part in that, the work you put into that kid,” Lemon said. “I think that’ll be the best thing for me — seeing kids grow and develop. I feel we need them to grow together as athletes to become better and more successful as a program.”

Member of the ‘Mean Green’

After receiving a few college offers, Lemon initially had plans to return to Louisiana to play football at Louisiana Tech.

He then chose his last offer: the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton.

“I wanted to be part of something brand new,” Lemon said of his time spent in Denton playing for the Mean Green. “They had a new coaching staff and new facilities that they were building. I wanted to be part of that first wave to come into UNT and help set a foundation for Mean Green athletics.”

During his time at UNT, Lemon served as team captain in 2014. In 2013, he was named to the Conference USA All-Conference First Team at offensive line. He started all 13 games in 2013 on the offensive line and started in 37 straight games in his collegiate career.

In his collegiate career, Lemon was the only player in the nation to start every game since his freshman year, and to make the all-conference team in three straight seasons.

Sojourn with Saints, Canadian Football

After going undrafted in the NFL, Lemon worked out for the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders before signing with and briefly playing for the New Orleans Saints. He also had tryouts in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Lemon compared college football to a seven on a scale of one to 10, when it comes to how fast the game’s played.

He rated the NFL at a “full 10.” He found it to be a different game where only few succeed and make the jump from college.

“In the NFL, you compete with the new, fresh talent every year,” Lemon said. “The talent level never drops. They’re hungry. The speed of the NFL game was totally different than anything I’ve experienced. You can get used to it, and it will slow down. But at first it’s kind of crazy. Large human beings moving like small human beings. Everybody’s at least good on that level.”

Lemon decided to retire at 24 and transition into a coach. It’s a decision he made without any regrets.

“I think there’s a time for everything and I felt like for me it was something I could honestly put to rest,” he said. “I felt like I’ve had a great career in football, and that it was time to give back to football. I feel like coaching is a great avenue to do that in.”

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