The following was excerpted from an article written on Nov. 18, 1988 by Gazette reporter Mike Kolleth just before Coach Donald Herman’s first Island Cup Game. Coach Herman began his career on Martha’s Vineyard that fall and took the team to a record of 5-5. They lost the Island Cup 14-0 that year, but in 1989, Coach Herman led his team to a 26-14 Island Cup victory, only the second win since 1977.

For the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team, the second season begins on Saturday.

Forget the 5-4 season mark.

Forget the three-game losing streak at mid-season.

For first-year coach Donald Herman and the Vineyarders, the new season begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, with the opening kickoff against arch rival Nantucket on the sister island.

“This is it,” Mr. Herman said. “If we win this one, it makes all the work worthwhile.”

The 38th consecutive clash for inter-Island football bragging rights, which The New Yorker Magazine once compared to the bitter Harvard-Yale rivalry, takes on additional meaning this year.

First, a victory would clinch a division title for the 7-2 Whalers, who are 4-0 in the Mayflower League. A loss translates into a tie with Norton.

This is also the silver anniversary year for Nantucket coach Vito Capizzo.

The game marks the 25th consecutive year he has led his team against the Vineyard. It’s also the Whaler’s homecoming game. “I don’t make much of the 25-year mark,” Mr. Capizzo said. “This is still just a kids’ game.”

For Martha’s Vineyard it is a chance to usher in a new coaching era by bringing home the Island football trophy for its new coach, Mr. Herman.

The trophy has proved elusive in the past decade.

The Whalers have triumphed in eight of the past ten contests, including a brutal 27-14 victory over the Vineyard last year. In 1986 the Vineyard fell 34-0.

This year the Vineyard’s hopes ride on performances by Troy Hobby, Louis Paciello, John Cateloni, Brian Deese and junior quarterback Todd Araujo, who is listed as questionable. He sat out last Saturday’s game against Tri-County after sustaining an injury against Southeastern the week before.

“He was on crutches this week,” Mr. Herman said. “So at this point he is a question mark — a big question mark.”

But this is a game where both teams traditionally throw the play books out the window and do what it takes to win.

“On paper the Vineyard is a superior team,” Mr. Capizzo said. “The only problem they’ve had is execution. I’ll be honest, we’re going into this game knowing it’s going to be the most difficult of the year.”