The kick-off to the 2016 high school football season in central Massachusetts was no ordinary game -- it was a "Top Cop Game" in honor of Auburn Police Officer Ron Tarentino Jr., who was shot and killed in the line of duty in May.
Auburn High School took on Leicester High School, with both teams paying their respects to the fallen officer.
"These communities have the biggest hearts of any communities I know," said Tricia Tarentino, the officer's widow.
"He'd say 'What are you doing this for?'" said Ronald Tarentino Sr. "He was that type of guy. But I'm sure he's up there watching us."
Officer Tarentino's family flipped the coin before the game. There was also a state police flyover.
But the biggest highlight of all came when Officer Tarentino's son, Ronny, who's stationed in the Army in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, surprised his family in an old Leicester High School uniform, holding the game ball.
"This was the first time I've ever tried to surprise anyone coming home, so it's a big one," he said.
"That was just the icing on the cake," Officer Tarentino's mother, Sharon, said.
The officer, who served in Leicester before joining the Auburn Police Department, was only 42 when he was killed.
"We can't thank everyone enough," said Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckus.
"Our goal is just to perform with the passion and emotion that would be respectful to officer Tarentino," said Auburn's coach, Jeff Cormier.
"His death has put things into perspective for both towns," said Leicester High School football coach Tim Griffiths. "It's almost like shame on all of us for sweating the little things when there's real-life problems going on."
"We've loved your letters, phone calls, everything to support our family," Tricia Tarentino said.