Mason McKibben inherits his love of numbers from his mother, Krista, a math teacher at Galion high school.
The Colonel Crawford fifth-grader has been obsessed with statistics as long as his parents can remember, and now he’s combined his fondness for mathematics with the other love in his life — sports.
“He was one of those kids in preschool that could look at a digital clock, and say it was 6:05, we would ask: ‘Mason, how many minutes away is 8:30?’ He’d be able to add it in his head,” Brad McKibben, Mason’s father, said. “It was amazing he could do that at 4 or 5 years old.”
Friday night in the Eagles press box, wearing his No. 19 black and gold jersey, Mason carefully jotted down numbers in his notebook, filled with stats from each and every Colonel Crawford home game this season. He assists his father, who took over as announcer when long-time teacher and voice of the Eagles Larry Walimire retired last year, and his results are extremely accurate. Mason can calculate the amount of yardage a player rushes for down field in a split second.
“He can spit it out pretty quick,” Brad said. “It’s my first year of announcing, and I asked him to be my personal statistician, and he gladly wanted to do it. He’s very excited about it, and always keeps stats at basketball games. He’s very accurate. One time at Galion, the score book operator was actually off by two points and he caught it.”
Mason, 11, plays football, basketball and baseball, and said he wants to be either a coach or professional athlete when he grows up. He likes writing, geography, multiplication and division, and his favorite football teams are the Cleveland Browns, the Washington Redskins and The Ohio State University Buckeyes. He is a big fan of OSU quarterback Braxton Miller and Redskins signal caller Robert Griffin III.
“I used to like Donovan McNabb when he played for them,” he said.
In addition to his stats notebook, Mason also has started keeping a notebook which he fills with his “keys to success” for the Eagles each Friday night. Before last week’s game against Buckeye Central, Mason scribbled down three keys: stop the run, get up early and use the passing attack. He predicted the final score would be Colonel Crawford 42, Buckeye Central 13, which was fairly close to the actual outcome: a 38-13 victory for the Eagles.
“I was watching the Indians one night after football practice, and a lot of times they talk about the keys to success for the Indians to win,” Mason said.
Soon enough, the idea to create his own keys to success for the Eagles was born during study hall. His keys for Colonel Crawford’s upcoming game against Bucyrus include shutting down the Redmen pass game, not letting them run up the middle, having a balanced attack offensively, and to limit turnovers and get up early.
Mason also predicts the Eagles will win by a score of 35-28.