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In 1933, Bellport High School football hero Ossie Merrill graduates and heads West to Hollywood to join a collegiate team. Before his departure, he and Paddy O'Riley, a quarterback, vie for the affection of Cheers Reynolds, who, with her sister Susie, run a soda shop. Cheers only has eyes for Ossie, however, and when she offers Paddy a consolatory going-away kiss, he is offended and angrily leaves for Green Ridge College on the East coast. Three years later, Ossie returns to Bellport and receives a hero's welcome, but when Paddy arrives with his best friend, fullback August "Dutch" Schultz, there is no fanfare. Dutch is in love with actress Florence Taylor, who has stopped in Bellport on the same train as Ossie on her way to New York. Cheers is still uninterested in Paddy, even though Ossie neglected to write to her during his absence, and now stops in only for a short visit. Paddy returns to Green Ridge, without any hope of gaining Cheers's love. In an effort to help his friend, Dutch writes to Cheers, who responds by coming to one of their football games. Although the plan backfires and Paddy and Cheers end up fighting, Paddy tries to reciprocate the favor by reporting Dutch's love for Florence to a reporter who is hoping to gain nationwide recognition for the small college. The gossip campaign is started because Green Ridge has a chance to play in the New Year's Rose Bowl game, but is relatively unknown. Paddy's leak to the press infuriates Dutch and fuels further gossip involving Ossie and Cheers. Green Ridge is invited into the Rose Bowl and will be playing against Sierra's team, of which Ossie is a member. Because of a knee injury, Dutch is pulled from the game, as is his injured back-up. When Coach Soapy Moreland catches Cheers in Paddy's room, where they are making up, he uses this as an excuse to suspend Paddy from the game. Unknown to both Paddy and Cheers, Soapy plans to trick the Sierra team into complacency by pulling Paddy and then sending him in as a fullback. The plan works, but Cheers believes that Paddy has duped her. Green Ridge wins the Rose Bowl game, due to the efforts of Paddy and Dutch's last minute involvement in the game. Soapy explains to Cheers why he pulled Paddy, and after she returns Ossie's class ring to him, she interrupts Paddy's shower to tell him she is crazy about him.