The Island Cup, a league championship, a playoff spot and three Golden Anchor trophies are on the line Saturday when the Vineyard travels to Nantucket for the Battle in the Atlantic.

The storied rivalry between the Vineyard and Nantucket for the Island Cup dates back to 1978, the year the trophy was created — although the first football game between the two Islands dates back to 1953.

The Golden Anchor trophy tradition is at year one. For the first time, additional sports teams — field hockey and boys and girls soccer — will have a chance to earn their own hardware.

The football team will be carrying the Island Cup across the water, having defeated Nantucket in last year’s contest. Where it resides after Saturday, along with the three new Golden Anchor statuettes, is up for grabs.

Athletic director Mark McCarthy said he and his Nantucket counterpart, Travis Lombardi, came up with the idea for the new trophies to create a more inclusive day of competition. The Island Cup football game had always been held the Saturday before Thanksgiving. That all changed, said Mr. McCarthy, when the Cape and Island’s League was formed three years ago which required Nantucket and the Vineyard to meet during the regular season.

Boys soccer needs a win to stay alive for the playoffs. — Mark Alan Lovewell

With the date change to the end of October, the athletic directors created a full-day sports affair between the two Islands.

“Two years ago, we structured it so all the fall teams — football, field hockey, boys and girls soccer ­— would play each other on the same day,” Mr. McCarthy said. “The first version was played on Nantucket and last year they came here.”

The Vineyard versus Nantucket day was a big hit, Mr. McCarthy continued, but there was one problem.

“People wondered why it was just focused on the Island Cup trophy, and they had a good point.”

Enter the Golden Anchor this year, a name that reflects the nautical background of both Islands, Mr. McCarthy said.

There is also a league championship on the line for the football team, and the boys soccer team needs a win against Nantucket to keep its playoff hopes alive. 

“Both the Vineyard and Nantucket football teams are 2-0 in league play so whoever wins the Island Cup also wins the league,” Mr. McCarthy said.

The two football teams are evenly matched this year; overall, the Vineyard squad holds a 4-3 record, with Nantucket sitting at 3-4. After up-and-down starts in non-league play, both teams toppled division foes Monomoy and Saint John Paul II in the past two weeks to set up the showdown. 

For the Vineyarders, their wins over the two Cape and Islands league opponents proved to be a test of heart and mettle. In Harwich, against the Sharks two weeks ago, the Vineyard held the lead for the first half but fell behind by a touchdown in the third quarter. It took a make or break effort from purple’s offensive and defensive lines to control the line of scrimmage and ultimately recapture the lead on the back of Guilherme Oliveira’s two rushing touchdowns, for a final score of 28-20.

Girls soccer is having a banner season. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Last Friday against Saint John Paul II at home, the Vineyard’s air attack busted the game wide open to seal the deal on homecoming night for the Vineyarders, 26-6.

Nantucket boasts a dangerous offense led by sophomore quarterback Brock Beamish and budding sophomore star wide receiver Arann Hanlon, plus a desire to avenge their dramatic defeat last year.

Against Monomoy, the Whalers matched the Vineyard’s 28 points with three scores coming from Hanlon and the fourth by senior captain Carlos Aguilar. And against Saint John Paul II, their defense blanked the Lions 13-0. 

After years of recent lopsided contests between the two Island football rivals, it appears there could be an even playing field on Saturday.

The day of competition begins with boys soccer at 11 a.m. The Vineyarders are in a win or else situation against a rolling Whalers soccer team on a five-game winning streak. Nantucket has only lost three games all year, one of which was a 3-2 loss to the Vineyard back in September. The Vineyarders last played Bourne on the Cape, notching a 1-0 victory. After shaking off a bit of a rough patch purple seems to have found their groove and the rematch with their rivals looks to be a good one.

At 12:30 p.m., the field hockey teams square off as the Vineyarders face a tough task against a very strong Nantucket squad that has won four in a row and beat some of the top competition on the Cape. Back in September, the Whalers blanked Martha’s Vineyard 8-0. 

In the final Golden Anchor showdown, the girls soccer team will play a rematch against the Whalers at 1 p.m. In their first meeting, the Vineyarders were victorious 2-0. They have racked up nine wins so far this season but have sputtered lately as they tied Monomoy 2-2 Tuesday and haven’t won since Oct. 12 against Barnstable. However, with a win they have a chance to improve their playoff seeding and gain some momentum going into the postseason. While the Whalers haven’t quite enjoyed the Vineyard’s level of success this season, they have won three of their last four games and played the Vineyarders close in their first meeting. 

The Island Cup football game closes out the Battle in the Atlantic, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The fan boat leaves Vineyard Haven at 7 a.m. Saturday. It’s a long ride to the other Island after she turns starboard instead of the normal route to Woods Hole. With plenty of time for the athletes to lock in and the sun to come out and warm up, it’s surely going to be a day to remember for everyone on board.