STEUBENVILLE - Leo Herrmann and John-Paul McNamara are the Catholic Central boys' soccer team's version of Batman and Robin.
The Crusaders' dynamic duo combined to score three goals to lead Catholic Central to a 5-0 win over East Liverpool in an OVAC Cup Tournament Quarterfinal Monday evening at Brooke High School.
Catholic Central (11-0-1) will now face Linsly (10-3) in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Herrmann recorded two goals in the victory over the Potters while, McNamara netted one.
The play of Catholic Central's dynamic duo is one of the main reasons why the Crusaders have yet to taste defeat this season.
Herrmann has scored 39 goals this season, giving him 108 in his career. He also has three assists. McNamara has scored 10 goals to go along with 22 assists. McNamara has assisted on 18 of Herrmann's goals, while Herrmann has assisted on three of McNamara's goal.
Herrmann netted career goal No. 100 Sept. 12 against Weir at Jimmy Carey Stadium. Herrmann reached the milestone when he found the back of the net with a shot with 19:25 left to play in the first half. Herrmann ended up leaving Jimmy Carey Stadium with 101 career goals, and the Crusaders left Hancock County with a 5-1 victory over the Red Riders.
"It is a really good milestone," Herrmann said after that game. "It means a lot, but the most important thing is we improved to 8-0. I couldn't have done it without my teammates. John-Paul McNamara has a lot of assists. It is a big thing personally, but the most important thing is the team is rolling."
Herrmann is the only player in school history to score 100 goals since the program started in 1989.
"It's great that he was able to reach that milestone," Catholic Central head coach Steve Kopcha said that night. "It's great for Leo, and it is great for the team. It is something they can take great pride in knowing they helped him reach it."
Two days later, Catholic Central found a way to remain perfect.
Led by the usual suspects, Catholic Central recorded a 2-1 victory over Cambridge at the Tony Recinella Soccer Field.
Herrmann and McNamara each scored a goal in the Crusaders' victory over the Bobcats. McNamara assisted on Herrmann's goal.
"It's a huge deal," McNamara said about Herrmann reaching the 100-goal plateau. "It shows how much we work together. It's a group effort."
McNamara assisted on Herrmann's goal against the Bobcats.
"We play a lot of 1-2 ball," McNamara said. "It is very effective.
"The last two years we have worked well together. We have developed good chemistry. We know where we are going to make runs even before hitting the ball."
Herrmann and McNamara have developed a good chemistry on the field in the past two seasons.
"We have a lot of experience playing together," said Herrmann. "We use a lot of 1-2 touch. We have not played together for two full years, but we do have experience playing together. We understand each other.
"We play year round. We don't stop. We play pick-up soccer. We work hard. We communicate well. There is a lot of talking on the field."
That chemistry did not happen overnight. It took time to develop.
"It is a little smoother this year," Herrmann said. "We talk more. We just play our game."
Herrmann and McNamara are the Crusaders' top two players up front, but the pair has gotten plenty of help from their teammates this season.
"It all starts with the defense," McNamara said. "The midfield does a nice job of sending the ball up.
"Also, we are friends outside of soccer."
Herrmann has improved his offensive production all four years at Catholic Central. Herrmann netted three goals as a freshman, 31 goals as a sophomore and 35 goals as a junior.
"I have gotten a lot better," Herrmann said. "Coach Steve has really helped me. He has helped me become a team player. He has taught how to use my strengths to help the team."
Though scoring goals is what Herrmann is known for throughout the Ohio Valley, he does much more than that on the field. He is an all-around player.
"He has a lot of speed," Kopcha said. "He has a lot of skill. He is a physical player. He is an all-around athlete. He is just not a soccer player. He is an all-around player. He helps us in a lot of ways and not just in scoring goals.
"He is a perfect example of someone who has worked hard. He came in as a freshman, and he played JV. He continued to develop and started seeing playing time with the varsity. He became a better player, and he became a starter for us.
"He continues to work on his talents."
Herrmann uses his athleticism to his advantage on the pitch.
"Finishing, winning balls in the airs and heading the ball," Herrmann said about what his strengths are on the field. "I do whatever I can to help the team."
McNamara said Herrmann's biggest strength is his ability to put the ball into the back of the net.
"He is an excellent finisher," he said. "He can play all over the field. Nine out of 10 times he will finish and put the ball into the net."
Kopcha said McNamara is able to see the whole field.
"John-Paul has great vision," he said. "He has a lot of skill. He is an all-around player. He can pass the ball. He can hold the ball until Leo gets open."
McNamara is willing to do whatever is best for the team.
"I try to help any way possible whether it is scoring goals or getting assists," McNamara said.
All of Catholic Central's opponents this season have focused on trying to stop Herrmann and McNamara. The only team to really contain the pair was Big Red and they played to a scoreless draw on Saturday.
Linsly defeated Big Red, 2-0, in Monday night's second quarterfinal matchup.
"Big Red is very good defensively," Kopcha said. "They have a concrete wall on defense. We will have to find a way to break through it or to get around it. They shut us down Saturday. They can contain anyone in the valley."
The Cadets victory over Big Red means those plans have been put on hold.
Herrmann managed to keep track off his goal total even as that number grew higher and higher.
"Yeah, I knew," Herrmann said asked if he knew he was close to scoring his 100th goal. "I had a countdown in my head. I always count my goals. It is an exciting thing."
Herrmann has been playing the beautiful game since he was young.
"I have played since I was 5. My parents put me in the JCK rec program," he said. "I started in soccer, and I have been playing it ever since."
Herrmann loves everything about the game.
"It is the most popular sport in the world," he said. "It's all great. It is something where all 11 guys on the field have to play together. The game is non-stop. It's a great game. Anything can happen.
"It is just a great game."
The win over Cambridge increased Catholic Central's record to 9-0. Catholic Central followed up that win with a win two days later at Brooke to improve to 10-0.
The Crusaders have gotten off to the best start in school history.
"We are good all over," Herrmann said. "We have a good goalie. We are strong on defense. We are strong in the midfield. We are scoring a lot of goals."
The Crusaders are the top seed in the OVAC Tournament. Catholic Central won the Class 1-A/3-A division title.
"We are 9-0, but we have bigger goals," Herrmann said after the Cambridge game. "We want to win the OVAC Cup and do well in the state tournament."
McNamara agreed with his partner in crime.
"We are 9-0, but we have bigger goals," he said. "We want to do well in the state tournament."
Catholic Central will take part in the Ohio Division III Eastern District Sectional Tournament in October at Maysville High School. The five-team tournament is scheduled to begin on Oct. 14.
"We are just going to keep working hard," Herrmann said.
Catholic Central will be joined in the sectional tournament by Bishop Rosecrans, Caldwell, Hiland and Monroe Central.
Like all of Catholic Central's 12 opponents have done so far this season, whoever the Crusaders play in the postseason will try and do everything in their power to slow down the incomparable pair.
"We don't really feel any pressure," Herrmann said. "We like being the underdogs."
Once his high school playing days are over, Herrmann plans to continue his soccer career at the next level.
"I am going to Franciscan University of Steubenville to play soccer," Herrmann said.
"I am keeping my options open."