For the regional high school football team, the adjustment from fall to a late winter season has sent many practices indoors due to snow and ice. But the shift has had one immediate bonus: soccer players can play football for the first time ever.

The first game is scheduled for March 14 against Sandwich and varsity soccer player Hiago Goncalves is ready.

“It is a dream come true,” he said of the Fall II season which begins on Sunday and runs to April 27, the date of the Island Cup game.

Goncalves played football until his freshman year of high school when he joined his older brother on the soccer team.

Learning to practice in the chill of winter. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“The second I decided to play soccer in high school I never thought I was going to pick up a football or put on pads and a helmet ever again. Being able to put on a helmet for practice is unreal and is honestly an amazing feeling.”

Goncalves is one of three soccer players on the football team this year. Defensive captain Brian Torres led the charge to recruit the new players.

“It’s really nice to have them on the team,” Torres said. “They were totally down for it.”

The team is led by senior quarterback and offensive captain Zach Smith. He is one of 13 seniors on the team, many of whom have played together since middle school.

“It’s just great to be able to play with these people who I’ve been playing with for so long,” he said. “It’s a different type of brotherhood than I’ve ever experienced before.”

“I really couldn’t be more thankful,” Smith continued. “A lot of us didn’t really expect that we’d be able to play so just the fact alone that we can play is amazing.”

Coach Don Herman keeps a close eye on the action. — Mark Alan Lovewell

On Wednesday, the Vineyarders saw their first action of the new season during a scrimmage with Randolph on the mainland. Vineyard head coach Donald Herman said the team did well.

“Randolph was very athletic, they had some good size and were very aggressive. It was a good scrimmage for us,” he said.

For senior offensive lineman David Butkowsky, Wednesday’s scrimmage brought back a lot of familiar feelings that he had missed over the past year.

“Even though we made some mistakes it felt really good to be able to go out there and hit somebody that’s not your teammate,” Butkowsky said.

Butkowsky said he and his fellow linemen are looking forward to a successful season.

“If we can pass block, we have a great quarterback who has a good arm and lots of good receivers around him,” he said. “If we do our part, they’ll do their part.”

The first home game is March 27, also against Sandwich.