Holliday and Windthorst entered this season in the same boat.
Both were breaking in new head coaches who had been promoted from within, replacing two of the area's most successful coaches in recent memory.
Both schools were coming off trips to the state quarterfinals, but graduation had left several holes to fill.
Ironically, the two Archer County schools also ended the season with striking similarities Friday night.
The Eagles and Trojans both suffered narrow bi-district losses in which their quarterbacks were injured. They both finish the season with five losses.
And both could have helped their cause by winning in Week 10, but Holliday lost to Jacksboro (21-20 in overtime) and Windthorst fell to Quanah (26-23), relegating both to third place in district.
The Eagles lost Jacob Cole to a calf injury in their 23-20 overtime loss
to Tolar. While Brennan Whitaker has certainly proven capable of calling the shots, he had only thrown four passes in the past four games.
For the second straight year, the Eagles' first playoff game went to overtime and Hunter McCain came through with a field goal.
Unlike last year when the Eagles forced a turnover against Spearman to seal that outcome, this time Tolar scored the game-clinching touchdown on a 17-yard run on fourth down.
Holliday finishes the season 6-5, but incredibly went 0-4 in games decided by three points or less. The Eagles' margin in their other seven games (6-1) was 29 points.
Windthorst had been hampered by injuries during the regular season, losing key starters Kellen Green, Brent Hemmi and Macaully Bowen to season-ending ailments.
Then against Anson, sophomore quarterback Chandler King and fullback Jose Sanchez left with groin and ankle injuries, respectively.
"We never have been devastated by injuries like a lot of schools have, but we had a bunch of them this year." Windthorst coach Chris Tackett said. "Garrett Syrus (freshman QB) came in and got us tied back up. He did a great job."
While it doesn't happen very often, it hasn't been that long since both Windthorst and Holliday were both out of the playoffs this early.
In 2009, the Eagles lost a bi-district heartbreaker to Cisco 41-40, while the Trojans missed the postseason.
■ ■ ■
Jacksboro ended a nine-year winless drought in the playoffs with Friday night's 28-13 victory over Blooming Grove.
The Tigers had gone 0-4 in the postseason since the 2003 squad advanced two rounds deep, beating Aubrey before falling to Colt McCoy and Jim Ned.
Vernon's 55-28 decision over Springtown was the Lions' first playoff win since their run to the state quarterfinals in 2007.
■ ■ ■
One of the area's best playoff matchups will take place at 5 p.m. Friday in Springtown when Graham faces Glen Rose in a battle of 10-1 teams.
The only losses among those two schools came at the hands of No. 2 Abilene Wylie and No. 3 Stephenville.
Graham does have some recent history with Glen Rose. The Steers edged the Tigers in the 7-on-7 state quarterfinals in July, 38-35. Jansen Graham caught a TD pass on the final play of the game as the Steers eventually fell in the championship game.
■ ■ ■
Quanah will face Sundown for the third straight postseason at 3 p.m. Friday in Amarillo.
The teams have split the previous two encounters, with Quanah winning 26-20 and then losing 55-12 in 2012.
The coaches have a previous stop in common. Quanah's Jason Sims spent six seasons on Archer City's staff from 2003-09. Sundown is coached by Jerry Palmore, who was Archer City's head coach from 1998-2001, compiling a 13-25 record.