The Cocoa Bean Bowl Game

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Since 1943, the American football teams of the two high schools in Hershey, Pennsylvania, have met to play a game for local bragging rights and possession of the coveted 'Cocoa Bean Trophy'.

The so-called Cocoa Bean Bowl began as a community service project of the Hershey Rotary Club and the Hershey Civic Club. The football teams of the Hershey Industrial School Spartans and the local public high school, Hershey High School Trojans, met for the last game of the season. The original idea for the game is generally credited to Ralph Hoar1 who was hired in 1932 by Milton S Hershey to be the coach and director of athletics at the Hershey Industrial School.

The first game was played on 20 November, 1943 with the Trojans winning 14-7. After that first game, the squad was presented the Cocoa Bean Trophy in what has become a tradition ever since.

Inculding the 2000 season's game, Milton Hershey School has won 30 games and Hershey High School has won 27. In 1955, the game was moved from the last game of the season on each team's schedule to the first.

Since its inception, proceeds from the game have been designated for the support of Memorial Field. The Memorial Field recreation area is open to all residents of Hershey and the surrounding area and includes five tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court, a baseball field, softball fields, an American football field, a gravel running track, a picnic pavilion and shuffleboard courts. It is located between Homestead Road and Cocoa Avenue behind the Hershey Elementary School next to the Cocoa Avenue Recreation Center.

Despite the fact that the students of these two schools rarely interact off the playing field, this game is a rather big rivalry. Senior classmen on both squads will often weep when they fail to capture the trophy and kiss it when they raise it in victory with both emotions captured in the local weekly newspapers' next editions.

1Mr. Hoar died in June 2000.

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