BLOUNT COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT)- Back to school means two things for local high schools: returning to the classroom and the football field.

Locust Fork High School and Appalachian High School will head to the gridiron Thursday for the first-ever “Battle for the Blue Line” game.

Players will not only be looking to capture their first win for the season, but they’ll be honoring American heroes and first responders.

Firefighters, police officers, all military branches and first responders will be honored at the game. State Attorney General Steve Marshall will also attend the game.

Locust Fork Booster Club President Gregg Armstrong says both schools are excited about competing on the big stage tonight.

“What I’ve heard from both of these teams is that the kids are excited,” Armstrong said. “They feel like they’re representing the heroes in this game, and they’re excited because they want to win the football game.”

Locust Fork and Appalachian players say they want to win, but they want fans to leave with a more meaningful message once the game ends.

“My dad is a marine, so he’s always told me to be thankful for our soldiers, which I am because they’re doing the stuff most people don’t wanna go do,” Appalachian High School football Christopher Hekin said.

“The police force, firefighters every day they risk their lives for us,” Locust Fork High School Football Player Jalon Boatright said. “That’s the message I want to give everybody, not just for me but for everybody, and it should mean that.”

The players will wear special uniforms to honor serving men and women.

Local veterans say it’s a great honor to have the schools pay respects to them on the opening night of their seasons.

“Our country just doesn’t have the pride they used to have, and it’s an honor to see things like this happen across our country, and I would like to see it happen across the nation to bring back the pride in our country that we sacrifice for,” local veteran Lester Hallman said.

The pregame will start at 6:30 p.m. at Locust Fork High School with kick-off happening at 7 pm.