Brothers Nathan and Kevin Shimp have been extra careful about what they say to each other this week.

Brothers Nathan and Kevin Shimp have been extra careful about what they say to each other this week.

Nathan coaches the receivers for the Olentangy High School football team, which edged Marysville 24-21 last Friday to improve to 5-0. Kevin is a receiver for Liberty, which lost to Dublin Jerome 14-10 last Friday to drop to 3-2.

The Braves and Patriots will play each other at 9 p.m. Friday in Crew Stadium, the first meeting between the two programs.

"There's no animosity between he and I, but I didn't want to talk about it," said Nathan, who coached the safeties at Westerville Central a year ago when Liberty beat the Warhawks 34-14.

"We talked about our upcoming games, but we never talked about that game," Kevin said. "It's kind of weird because everything I do on the football field is because of what him and what he has taught me."

Olentangy coach Ed Terwilliger knows what the Shimps are going through. When Liberty opened in 2003, it split his family, his neighborhood, his team and his coaching staff. His son, Andrew, played football at Olentangy and his daughter, Megan, played soccer for Liberty.

"Every Friday when I go to my game, I'll see six or seven kids in Liberty jerseys heading off to theirs," Terwilliger said. "Probably everyone in the district has been dreaming about this game, except for two people -- (Liberty coach Steve Hale) and I."

Hale was an assistant to Terwilliger from 1989-96 and 2001-02. He left to become the coach at Shelby (1997-98) and Groveport (1999-2000) before returning to Olentangy. When the Liberty job opened, Terwilliger encouraged Hale to take it.

The two still call each other at least once a week to talk about the other teams in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

"Maybe we've tightened up a little more this year since we're in the same conference," Hale said. "Ed and I have a lot of respect for each other. We're both going to go out and try our best to win, but regardless of what goes down in the game, we're still going to be friends afterward."

The schools nearly met on the football field once before. Had both won their first-round Division II playoff games in 2005, they would have played in the second round. However, Olentangy lost to Avon Lake 21-7.

Had this contest happened five years ago, Hale said it would've pitted many friends against each other. The Braves lost half of their freshmen, sophomore and junior classes to Liberty. Enough time has passed, Hale said, that both teams aren't as familiar with each other.

"This game has been in the back my mind. I'm glad it's finally here," Olentangy quarterback Justin Johnson said. "I wouldn't say we dislike each other, but we're not as close as some of the (previous) teams would've been."

"I've been dreaming of this game ever since the school opened," Liberty defensive end Michael Hilty said. "This first game is going to set the tone for the rivalry. They're 5-0, but all of the students here expect us to beat them so there's some big-time pressure on us."

Once the game ends, Nathan Shimp is looking forward to talking football with his brother again.

"This is what high school football is all about," he said. "I've always wanted the opportunity to coach my brother. I guess this is the second-best thing."