Robert Tankard is calling it quits after eight years as head coach of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team.
News of his resignation, following a 27-14 loss to Nantucket Saturday, came as a shock to his players, football fans and the high school athletic department.
“I’ve been thinking about it for quite awhile. My wife knew about it and so did my coaches,” Mr. Tankard told the Gazette Sunday. “It has nothing to do with our record this season or the game Saturday.
Personal victories are what Bob Tankard cares about. He relies on them, he says, because they are messages that validate life and each person’s place on earth. Bob Tankard is the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football coach.
He’s got the winner’s attitude and it just won’t quit.
When Bob Tankard says “I have a firm belief” or when he says “I mean it, I really mean it,” he clenches black hands into tight fists and squeezes his dark, merry eyes shut.
In what referees, coaches and spectators agreed was one of the dirtiest football games seen here in a long time, Nantucket High School toppled Martha’s Vineyard 27-14 Saturday.
Referees kept warm in the wind-chilled weather by walking off more than two football fields worth of penalties between the arch rivals who fought physically and verbally from the opening whistle to the final tick of the clock.
“What they should have done was stopped the game early to cool down both teams or just started kicking players off the field,” Vineyard coach R
The Island Cup is a treasure shared by two Islands. Though tarnished, occasionally dropped and frequently squeezed, its significance has only increased. For 25 years the cup continues to be photographed, celebrated and coveted by athletes. And tomorrow, when Nantucket meets Martha’s Vineyard on the football gridiron, the cup is up for grabs again.
The memories of last Saturday will be tough to erase: the Nantucket Whalers, with coach Vito Capizzo on their shoulders, hoisting the Island Cup for all the Vineyard to see. The visitors celebrating a 7-6 victory that took the Cup, the league championship, a slot in the Division 5 Super Bowl, and Mr. Capizzo’s 200th career triumph. “Right in your back yard!” a Nantucket player screams. “We took it away from you right in your back yard.”
What will make this memory so hard to forget is how close it came to being the other way.
You could hear the crowd rumbling on Saturday before the ferry carrying the high school football team, fresh from its 47-22 win over Nantucket in the annual Island Cup, had even docked in Vineyard Haven.
Like a parade welcoming a conquering army, about 200 residents had staked out the Steamship Authority wharf, ready to shower the team in adoration following the Vineyarders’ fourth consecutive Island Cup victory over Nantucket.