It’s more than an annual rite of high school rivalry.
It’s a passion and way of life for students in Derry and Londonderry this time of year.
When Mack Plaque season rolls around every September, students at Pinkerton Academy and Londonderry High School build a strong competitive spirit, all in the realm of good sportsmanship and teamwork.
Students also hope this will be their year to win.
The Mack Plaque is a longstanding fall athletic tradition between the two schools. Pinkerton and Londonderry teams play a full schedule of sporting events, including football, soccer, field hockey and golf this Friday and Saturday. The school with the most wins in all sports combined earns the trophy.
The tradition was born when Londonderry students left Pinkerton in the late 1970s to attend the newly built Londonderry High School. It’s named for the Mack Family — Pinkerton Academy alumni from Londonderry with three generations graduating from the Derry high school.
Wallace Mack was a member of the Class of 1919; Andrew Mack Sr. graduated in 1953; and his son, Andy Jr., was a member of the Class of 1977.
The Mack Plaque was first played in 1983. It’s important to local residents, listed at Number 559 on “603 Reasons.”
The annual sports fest reinforces historical connections between the two schools with some good sportsmanship thrown in.
“I think the students really enjoy it and like it,” Pinkerton athletic director Tim Powers said. “It is one of the biggest weekends in the fall. All the students get excited for it, not just the athletes.”
The sports events also draw some of the biggest crowds of the year.
Students get into the spirit by doing all sorts of activities prior to the sporting events. Both schools celebrate Spirit Week with special themes and costume events every day.
Londonderry students sold Mack Plaque T-shirts to raise money for good causes while supporting their Lancer teams.