The Gordon State College Basketball Highlanders will face rival Middle Georgia State College Thursday in a special game to help raise awareness of autism.The game will also feature a new tradition of holding a pep rally prior to games against rivals. The pep rally will begin at 6:15 in the amphitheater and at the conclusion players, coaches and fans will walk from the amphitheater, through the tunnel under College Drive and into Alumni Memorial Hall rallied on by cheerleaders and members of the school’s dance team.Before the game, Caitlin Darling, a Gordon music major whose brother is autistic, will perform the National Anthem. A silent auction will be held during the game offering autographed balls from Gordon’s soccer, softball, baseball and basketball teams. There will be a baseball signed by Gordon Baseball Golden Glove recipient Tyler Hutch and a softball signed by Gordon Softball Golden Glove recipient Kristen Lee. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to Stepping Stones, an educational therapy center in Griffin.Expected to make an appearance is Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer. Dwyer’s brother, Jordan, plays first base on the Gordon State College Baseball team.The event is coordinated by Clay Cordle, a Gordon student whose 14-year-old son is autistic. Cordle also calls all Highlanders sports games and is known as the ‘Voice of the Highlanders.’ ’I wanted to bring some awareness to autism and have some fun at the same time,’ Cordle said. ‘We’re hoping that students and fans will also enjoy the new tradition of having a pep rally before big games.’The pep rally is free for students and fans. Tickets for the game are $5 for general admission.