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MHS Football Team Prepares for 80th Cocoa Bean Game

Almost every high school football team has a rivalry, but few compare to the annual matchup between Milton Hershey School and Hershey High School. Dubbed the Cocoa Bean Game, the annual competition began in 1943. It served as a benefit to fund Christmas boxes for the men and women serving in the Armed Forces during World War II. The two teams will meet at Henry Hershey Field on the MHS Campus on Saturday, Sept. 23 for the 80th Cocoa Bean Game.

MHS Head Coach Jeff Boger is especially excited about this year’s Cocoa Bean game since it will also be the MHS Homecoming game. Coach Boger shares some insight into how the 2023 Spartan football team is preparing for this year’s game.

The Milton Hershey School football team practices for the 80th Cocoa Bean Game.

What makes this season stand out so far?

The players are really coming together as a team. After we lost against East Pennsboro on Sept. 8, the kids showed resilience. They came to practice on Monday knowing what they needed to do to improve and encouraged each other to be better.

What drives the students to improve?

The entire MHS community. Staff and teachers here are extremely invested in the students’ success. They instill strong character in them at every opportunity. The adults’ commitment drives our students to be better. Our football team sees a win on the field as a win for the entire MHS community.

Who is one player who has really experienced a Breakthrough?

Senior Jason Burney has greatly improved since his freshman year and is now our quarterback. We tried him out as quarterback his sophomore year with the thought we would play another position the following season. He stayed committed to improving and earned the top spot.

Jason is a quiet leader, certainly not a big talker. He works hard at practice and never complains. When he is injured, he takes care of himself but does not get discouraged. Other players watch Jason and follow his example.

What does the Cocoa Bean Game mean to the team?

Most other schools have rivals, but theirs is nothing like MHS and Hershey High. We are in the same town and have a similar name. Our schools are a half-mile apart. The Cocoa Bean Game has been played for 80 years and the record is so close at 37 wins, 39 losses, three ties.

This year’s game will be extra special. Playing on our home turf as part of homecoming weekend festivities gives the players extra drive to succeed. The bleachers will be full, and many people will stand and cheer. The entire scene will be phenomenal.

When the team runs through the banner and sees everyone supporting them, they will use that energy to carry them through all four quarters.

The 80th Cocoa Bean Game will be held 1:30 p.m., Sept. 23. Spartan supporters can watch the game live at the link below.

Read More about the History of the Cocoa Bean Game
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