When co-captains Henry Shroder of Cape Elizabeth and Jacob Zeisler of Gray-New Gloucester meet at midfield Friday night, the traditional handshake and coin toss will carry extra meaning. The stepbrothers will face each other on the football field for the final time, unless the teams happen to meet in the Class C South playoffs.

There’s always friendly trash talk in their household in the week leading up to the annual game.

Cape Elizabeth (5-0) and Gray-New Gloucester (4-1) play at Gray at 7 p.m. The matchup between the schools hasn’t been competitive in recent years because the Patriots were in the throes of a 23-game losing streak. Their resurgence has added zest to this year’s game.

“It’s usually not the most competitive game,” said Shroder, “but Gray has a real solid group of seniors and a good running game. It should be a lot of fun to play.”

The family connection adds to the game’s tension, he said.

“This is another opportunity to get a win against my stepbrother,” said Zeisler. “His teams have always beaten my teams.”

Shroder’s mother, Sarah Hardy, and Zeisler’s father, Aaron Zeisler, became a couple five years ago and merged their families. They picked a house in Falmouth to live in because it was equidistant to their children’s schools.

“This is the one time a season we get to watch the game together and cheer both boys,” said Hardy. “The friendly family rivalry is going to make this game especially exciting.”

The boys’ teams first played against each other in the seventh grade. Shroder and Zeisler are seniors now and both play right defensive end. But they couldn’t be more different physically and in their playing styles. Shroder is 6-foot-4 and Zeisler is 5-8. Both weigh about 170 pounds.

“I use more strength while Henry is a finesse player who uses his reach effectively,” said Zeisler.

Neither starts on offense, so they are unlikely to block or tackle one another unless they happen to meet while on special teams.

“In years past they have played on special teams so they actually had a chance of tackling each other,” said Hardy.

Shroder, however, is Cape’s backup tight end, so there might be an opportunity for the two to face each other on the opposite lines of scrimmage.

Shroder and Zeisler hope to make sure of one thing when the captains meet at midfield.

“I want to be the speaking captain,” said Zeisler.

Shroder said that’s usually not his role, but he hopes to make an exception by asking the other captains and his coach if he can take on that role for this game.

“It will have special meaning for us,” said Zeisler.

Both said they’re careful not to reveal any team strategy but are helpful in giving information to one another about upcoming opponents.

“If we’ve already played a team that Gray is about to play, I’ll tell Jake what to expect. He does the same for me,” said Shroder.

The differences in allegiance extend to their favorite NFL teams. Shroder is a big New England Patriots fan while Zeisler follows the Jacksonville Jaguars. Two weeks ago they went to the Patriots-Jaguars game in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Shroder’s team won again.

Zeisler plans to study law enforcement with hopes of becoming a Maine game warden.

“After football, my love is hunting and fishing,” he said.

Shroder hopes to become a high school history teacher and get into coaching.

But first there’s a certain game to play Friday night. Zeisler said there’s a lot of good-natured ribbing between the two leading up to it.

“We have a lot of fun with it,” said Zeisler. “We kid each other about who’s going to win. Henry talks a lot of smack, telling me what they’re going to do against us. I just tell him, ‘Well, let’s see if you can.’ ”

GEORGE CHAISON-LAPINE of Portland High, the leading rusher in Class A North with 774 yards, tweaked his ankle in the third quarter of last week’s game against Cheverus and didn’t return.

Coach Jim Hartman said Chaison-Lapine’s injury was “nothing serious” but he could be held out Friday night at Lewiston as a precaution. If Chaison-Lapine does play, it would be for a few plays on offense and not on defense, where he plays nose tackle.

“If it were the playoffs, he would play,” Hartman said.

UNBEATEN BRUNSWICK is in the heart of its schedule. The Dragons handled Skowhegan at home last week, winning 56-35.

Both teams entered the game with 4-0 records. Now Brunswick faces back-to-back road games against Brewer (4-1) on Friday night and Oct. 16 against Mt. Blue (4-1).

“The games keep getting bigger,” said Coach Dan Cooper. “We seem to be hitting our stride.

“We’re playing well offensively and defensively.”