(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend High organizer)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend High football players won't be the only ones receiving cheers Friday night.
Kevin Cooper is the activities coordinator and assistant football coach at Bend High, and a primary organizer of Bend High's "hero's game."
"Really love at Bend High being able to serve other communities, that is a big thing for our student body to see,” Cooper said.
He said all past or present servicemembers and first responders will receive free admission to the game, and be asked to stand and be recognized while there.
"During the game, they will be asked to stand, and our student body is ready to be fired up and honor them -- and we practiced our chants, and hopefully they sound good,” Cooper said.
Cooper said he hopes the players can gain something from the experience.
"It's not all about them,” Cooper said, referring to the players. “I mean, it's a special thing to be playing under the lights on Friday night, and that we honor them every single time they are able to put on a helmet. But it's also important for those boys to see that it's important to honor other people that have given them the opportunity to do what they love."
Cooper said the annual game was initially started to honor police only, but over the years, especially from the pandemic, the school realized there are so many other heroes in the community, such as veterans, active duty members, firefighters, EMTs and medical professionals, who also deserve recognition.
"We love to celebrate that,” Cooper said. “It's a fun community event, where people come together and celebrate and that's what Friday night lights are about."