Herrmann powers Crusaders

WEIRTON – The summer’s latest blockbuster is presented by the Catholic Central boys’ soccer team. The feature attraction stars senior standout Leo Herrmann, and it is entitled, “101 Goals.”

Herrmann netted a hat trick and added an assist to lead Catholic Central to a 5-1 victory over rival Weir Thursday at Jimmy Carey Stadium.

As a result of the hat trick, the incomparable Herrmann has now netted 101 goals in his illustrious career. Herrmann is the only Crusader to reach and eclipse the 100-goal plateau. Catholic Central’s first season was in 1989, coached at the time by Tony Recinella.

“It was great that he was able to reach that milestone,” said current Catholic Central head coach Steve Kopcha, who played for Recinella. “The team takes great pride in helping him to reach that milestone. “It is something for Leo to celebrate, and we are celebrating with them.”

With the win, the Crusaders remain perfect on the pitch at 8-0.

The Crusaders jumped on the Red Riders early, tallying four goals in the first half, with two coming less than 10 minutes into the yearly match.

“Yeah, we ran into a pretty good team today,” veteran Weir (5-2-1) head coach Joe Pepe said. “Steve was waiting all of those years to get one on me. Catholic Central is a very good team.

“I think we outplayed them for the last 60 minutes. They scored four goals in the first 20 minutes, but the final 20 minutes of the half we had the ball on their half of the field. We had the ball on their half of the field in the second half. We had one letdown, but we kept the ball on their half of the field. I think if we had more time we would have beaten them.

“Catholic Central is a good team. They are 8-0. Steve does a good job with them. I give them a lot of kudos.”

Also for the Crusaders, John-Paul McNamara recorded two goals and one assist, and Harold Rogers and Jacob Rigaud each delivered one assist.

“I was real happy with our defense,” Kopcha said. “Again, Weir is a talented team, and we did a good job of limiting their opportunities. We stepped to the ball first. We were able to win a lot of balls. We were able to win balls in the air with our heads. The defense did a fantastic job of shutting down a very talented team.”

Herrmann opened the scoring off of an assist by McNamara. The Crusaders’ dynamic duo switched things up on the second goal when Herrmann sent a cross to McNamara, who knocked the ball into the net making the score 2-0.

“It was very important for us to get off to a fast start,” Kopcha said. “We wanted to establish an early lead in the game. We were able to do that.

“In the second half, we were able to maintain the lead. Weir made some adjustments. We were fortunate to come on the right side of things.”

Herrmann reached the 100-goal milestone with a goal with 19:25 left to play in the first half.

“It is a really good milestone,” Herrmann said. “It means a lot to me to be able to reach it, but the most important thing is we are 8-0.”

Catholic Central led 4-0 at the half.

“We have a good cast of players,” Kopcha said. “We have been getting good results. We are going to continue to develop our game. We are going to continue to work.”

Ryan Kirk contributed the lone goal of the game for the Red Riders. Kirk’s goal came from long range off of an assist by Chayton Luevano.

Kirk’s goal made the score 4-1 with 20:59 left to play in the game.

“The kids are coming along,” Pepe said. “We are a good team, but we can become a great team. The kids just need to be a little more seasoned. After losing nine seniors from last year’s team, these kids have held up well.

“We have adapted well. We are moving the ball. Matt Tenagilo and Alex Hannah are doing a good job of leading the team. They are the captains. That is what they are supposed to do.”

Herrmann capped the scoring in the game with a goal with just 1:55 showing on the scoreboard clock.

“They are extremely well coached,” Kopcha said about the Red Riders. “They are a well established program. They are good year after year. We play them every year, and this game is like a measuring stick for us. They are a good team.

“Today, they were a typical Weir team. They worked hard. They never quit. They are going to get better. They got stronger as the game went on. They were a typically strong Weir team. They are talented.”

John Bolster made nine saves in goal for the Crusaders.

The Red Riders used two goalies. Tenagilo made three saves and Michael Ceraolo contributed six saves.

“We still have some lessons to learn,” Pepe said. “This is my 28th year overall, and my 21st at Weir. I have seen teams develop. The kids work hard. I am proud of the team. My assistant coaches are proud of the team. They have nothing to be ashamed of.

“The sun is going to rise tomorrow. We will be back. We will get ready to play East Fairmont on Saturday.”

Both teams are in action Saturday afternoon at home. Catholic Central will play at 12:30 p.m. against Cambridge at the Tony Recinella Soccer Field. Weir will take on East Fairmont at 1 p.m. at Jimmy Carey Stadium.

“That is fantastic,” Pepe said about Herrmann reaching the 100-goal plateau. “Steve does a real good job, but take nothing away from our kids. They played very hard. They just need to get some more experience.”