Like all good stories, there are differing versions of just exactly when the Great Football Contest Between the Two Islands began.

Some say it was in 1953, when an informal team of Vineyarders played football against the Nantucket High School (the Vineyard lost that year 33-20).

Others say it was in 1960, one year after the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School had opened its doors, bringing together under one roof for the first time ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders from all six towns. The consolidation allowed the Island to field an interscholastic football team. And competition began against Nantucket.

From the record books, Nantucket won that year and the year after. The Vineyard swept the next four games in 1962 and 1963 (in those days the teams played twice a year).

Whatever your pick for the actual start date, in 1978 the rivalry became official. That year the teams got together before the game and created the Island Cup, a trophy that the victor keeps until the following year’s game.

Since then the Cup has made the trip back and forth between the two Islands so many times, all but the most diehard fans have lost count. But what makes a storied rivalry are the stories of course, and when it comes to the Island Cup there are many — too many to list in this space. So the highlights will have to suffice.

There was the game for the ages. That was in 1992, the year of the furious comeback, the year the Vineyard beat Nantucket at home for the first time since 1972. After spotting Nantucket a 12-0 lead, the Vineyard turned the game around in the final five minutes for a thrilling 14-12 win.

“Dust off the game films and replay them. Brag about your glory days of leather helmets and drop kicks until you are blue in the face, but you won’t find a game that compares,” wrote Gazette reporter Jason Gay in a look back at the game two years later. “It was simply the greatest game ever.”

There are the coaches, including two legends in their own right who were also friends: Donald Herman on the Vineyard, who led the team for 28 years until his retirement two years ago; and Vito Capizzo, who led the Nantucket squad for 45 years until his retirement in 2009.

There are the players whose names dot the record books through the years, including Ron Brown, Albie Robinson, Jason Dyer, Randall Jette and others.

There is the Cup: It was bought in 1978 by former coach John Bacheller for $127 at a Falmouth trophy store. As the story goes, Coach Capizzo offered to pay for half the trophy. Not sure that ever happened, though — in 2009 the Gazette headline told the story: “Dear Nantucket, You Owe Us $63.50 on the Cup.”

Finally of course there is the score: As of last year it was Vineyard 19, Nantucket 18.

This year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Cup will stay in the trophy case that graces the front hallway of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. There will be no bonfire the night before, no traditional breakfast for the players the morning of the game, no placards lining the streets of Oak Bluffs, no ferry ride across the rough waters of Muskeget Channel to the Other Island on game day. For only the second time in Island Cup history the game was cancelled this year. The reason is a Vineyard roster depleted by injuries and other factors.

No, Thanksgiving weekend won’t be the same this year.

But this is just a time out for the Island Cup game. It will be back. And a storied football rivalry will no doubt continue.