Greg Arnaud (53) and his twin brother Mitch (50) are pictured here in their Sacred Heart football uniforms during their senior year in which the Trojans went undefeated through the regular season. (Photo courtesy of Greg and Mitch Arnaud)
Only two teams in the storied football history of the Halls of Troy have gone through a regular season undefeated. The first Sacred Heart team to do so was in 1949, and the only other team to do so was in 1971. The latter of the two also held the distinction of being ranked number one in Class A, and that accomplishment was only done one other time in school history during the next year in 1972.
Anchoring the offensive line of that 1971 team were senior twin brothers Mitch and Greg Arnaud. Mitch played center, and Greg played left guard. That team also featured fellow seniors Robert Launey at quarterback, Kirk Soileau, Ricky Lavergne, Kenneth Schexnayder, Steve Olivier, and Guy Soileau.
“That was a great honor to go undefeated,” said Mitch. “We weren’t expecting to have that kind of season. We didn’t know exactly what kind of season we were going to have. We were short on experience, but a lot of hard work and not having a lot of boys go both ways (on offense and on defense) were some key factors in us having an undefeated season.”
Both Arnaud brothers stated that there was also an amount of luck to going undefeated, but, as Greg pointed out, going undefeated was a credit to the way they were coached by head coach Bobby Soileau and assistant coaches Ted Lemoine and Tad Tatman.
“We were a team that didn’t make a lot of mistakes,” Greg said. “We weren’t penalized, and we focused a lot on repetition. We were drilled and were in great condition. By not going both ways, we made it count when we got on the field. We came after the other teams. If it was a close game in the second half, it was our game because we were in top condition.”
Mitch agreed. “We didn’t make many mistakes, we didn’t have penalties on us, we didn’t fumble the ball, and we were a pretty sound football team as far as that goes,” he said. “If we would have made mistakes, we would have never won the games that we won. Coach Bobby and Coach Ted Lemoine and Tad Tatman drilled us pretty hard.”
The 1971 season started with a 6-6 tie against St. Ed’s. “It was a big rivalry, and they outweighed us by about 70 to 80-pounds per man on the line,” said Greg. “We knew it was going to be a great game because St. Ed’s ran the ball too, and we were real good offensively and defensively. They ran at our strength, and we just held them. It was a real tight game defensively and offensively.”
He added, “St. Ed’s went on to have a real good season too that year. They were rated in the Top 10 too at one time.”
Mitch said about that St. Ed’s game, “It was key that we started off on the right foot. We didn’t win the game, but we didn’t lose it. It gave us a lot of confidence in ourselves, and we just kept on working hard. It paid off, and we started winning after that.”
After St. Ed’s, the Trojans beat Hanson by a score of 25-0 and then beat Fr. Teurlings by a score of 20-12. Then in Week 4, Sacred Heart played a key game against a Loreauville team that was ranked number 5 in Class A at the time.
“It was the most physical game we played that year,” said Greg. “They outweighed us by a good 25 to 30-pounds per man, and they had good height. There were several on that team who were 6’2” and taller.”
“They were a real good team,” he continued, “and, in fact, they were probably the only team in the playoffs that gave Second Ward a game. Second Ward beat them 21-14, I believe, in the second round. Second Ward is where Terry Robiskie went, and Sacred Heart played them for the state championship the year after we graduated.”
Sacred Heart earned a 14-6 win over Loreauville to improve to 3-0-1 on the season. After the win, the Trojans were then ranked number 1 in the state for that week. “It caught us by a surprise,” stated Greg. “We really weren’t expecting to be rated number 1.”
He added, “I guess since we beat Loreauville and were undefeated at the time, they gave us that honorable rating. It was good because we worked so hard that year, and it was a great honor because Sacred Heart was never rated, as far as I can remember, number 1 in the polls.”
Rounding out the rest of the Top 10 were Wesley Ray at number 2, Elton at number 3, Second Ward at number 4, University High at number 5, Mansfield at number 6, St. Frederick at number 7, Cheneyville at number 8, Pride at number 9, and Cotton Valley at number 10.
After Loreauville, Sacred Heart defeated Fatima by a score of 41-6 and Erath by a score of 13-6. In the Erath game on homecoming night, quarterback Robert Launey went down with an injury. “Then we had to play Joey Buller at quarterback, who was a sophomore that year,” said Greg. “We were really well seasoned at the time, and we gave him good protection. He was able to do the job as far as running the offense.
Following the homecoming win against Erath, Sacred Heart beat Plaisance 27-6, Delcambre 27-6, Mamou 34-0, and Vermilion Catholic 15-8 to cap off the undefeated regular season at 9-0-1.
“It wasn’t until the last game of the season when we were going against VC that we realized if we win this game we could be undefeated,” Greg stated. “It was an important district game too because VC had a real good team that year. It was a tough game, and it probably ranked behind Loreauville. The game was played at Sacred Heart and was a hard fought game.”
In the first round of the playoffs, the Trojans picked up a 28-8 win against Merryville. That win meant Sacred Heart would face University High in the Class A quarterfinals. That game; however, ended in a 41-7 loss.
“When we got beat by U-High,” Greg said, “they beat us on passing. They didn’t run the ball on us. They just threw the ball on us. Throughout our regular season, we didn’t meet up against a team that had some real good receivers and a quarterback that could consistently throw the ball like Rip Collins could for U-High. That was a big difference for us.”
Mitch said about that undefeated regular season, “We’re still talking about it today. We still feel, to go undefeated and have nobody else do it since, is a great achievement.”
“When it was all said and done, we had won a district championship and had won 10 straight games,” Greg expressed. “It was like a miracle, and it was a good feeling to be able to accomplish something like that which we never had in the back of our minds until that last game.”
Greg concluded with what that season taught the team about life. “It gave us a lot of confidence going into life as we met up with certain trials and didn’t give up on anything. It was a great feeling to be able to accomplish that.”