The very first known football match between two houses took place December 1, 1884, between Davis and Hamill. Davis House triumphed over the Hamillites, winning 6-0.
As the new Circle Houses were completed in the 1880s, intramural competition intensified. By 1887, there was a House Games Championship in football, awarded that year to Cleve, following a 20-0 rout over Woodhull. It is clear from the records that these championship games were single games, usually taking place on Thanksgiving or in early December. It was not until 1892 that the Circle Houses first competed against one another over a five-game “season,” with Hamill House prevailing as the first champions.
For the first several decades of House competition, teams were coached by senior boys who guided the residents of their former houses, and football was just one of several sports in which the houses competed throughout the year. Until 1950, points won for such events, as well as individual points for athletic, academic, and club activities earned by students, were counted towards an All ‘Round Trophy subsequently awarded to one Circle House at the end of the year, much as the Dresdner and Foresman cups are today.