By JIM HICKEY
Vineyard football fans can dust off their cowbells and Harpoon the Whalers signs, because the Island Cup game is back.
After a brief one-year hiatus, the fabled football game between the Vineyard and Nantucket will return this year, scheduled to be played on the Vineyard the Saturday before Thanksgiving. School and athletic officials from both Islands have been busy in recent weeks hammering out an agreement to bring back the game, which was canceled last season for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The game is one of the most storied traditions for both Islands, and has also caught the fascination of the national media. But at its core it remains an Island contest.
Last year’s game was canceled chiefly because Nantucket could no longer afford the travel costs to the Vineyard for football, soccer, field hockey, basketball and lacrosse.
Vineyard athletic director Sandy Mincone this week said the two Islands have agreed to play each other in football, boys’ and girls’ soccer and field hockey next fall. The football teams will play Nov. 20, while the boys’ and girls’ soccer and field hockey teams will play on Nantucket on Oct. 23.
“Everyone wanted to see the Island Cup return. They love this game on Nantucket just as much as we love it on the Vineyard. This is a good compromise,” Ms. Mincone said.
Vineyard football coach Donald Herman, who has played a large role in the history of the rivalry, said he was thrilled at the news. “The football gods are smiling down on us again, things are back to normal,” he said, adding:
“This game is an important tradition for both Islands. So many traditions are disappearing in American life, so it’s a comfort to know we are getting one back. Hopefully this game will be played for a long, long time to come.”