Turning on the AC: Heart was on display for Burbank, La Cañada

Over the past week, the area has been treated to a few displays of heart.

On Friday evening, the Burbank High football team showed character and fortitude.

After a lackluster first half by Burbank and an early third-quarter score from host Arcadia, the Bulldogs fell behind, 14-3, with 10:27 left in the third quarter of a key Pacific League contest.

Though Burbank had outgained Arcadia by a two-to-one margin at that point, fate appeared against the Bulldogs.

Then two plays changed the game and the attitude on the Burbank sidelines.

First, Burbank’s Chadz Vang was nearly body slammed on a tackle in which the game officials failed to blow the whistle despite Vang’s progress being stopped. Two plays later, Blake Quinteros was hit late on a helmet-to-helmet blow at the conclusion of a run.

Though both plays were deserving of penalties, neither was called for one.

At that point, it’s difficult to predict how a sideline full of teenagers would react.

As charged-up Burbank coach Adam Colman screamed for a flag, his team never lost its cool.

Instead, Burbank responded with two physically punishing drives that resulted in touchdowns that put the Bulldogs up, 17-14, with 9:58 left.

After an Arcadia punt, Burbank salted away the final six minutes-plus with its bruising ground game.

There were no late hits from Burbank, no cheap shots and no falling apart.

The Bulldogs responded with the best blow available, a first loss on Arcadia’s unblemished league record.

“We came together tonight,” Colman said. “Guys fought through adversity and pain and it was a lot of fun. I was so proud of the kids.”

There wasn’t much fanfare for the La Cañada High girls’ cross-country team on Wednesday, though the team deserved some recognition.

Sure, the three-time defending Rio Hondo League champion Spartans won their 11th consecutive league race, which wasn’t a surprise to anyone.

However, the Spartans returned senior runner Katie Scoville and coach Nick LaCapria to a league meet for the first time this season.

LaCapria missed La Cañada’s previous league race at Lacy Park on Sept. 21 as he was hospitalized with complications from a serious car collision. Over the summer, LaCapria was hit by a drunk driver traveling over 100 miles per hour.

A few months later, the fifth-year coach still struggles to get out of bed, deals with bouts of crushing pain and questions whether he can work.

Yet, on Wednesday afternoon, LaCapria joked about his injuries and hospital stays turning into an unorthodox weight-loss plan that has seen him drop more than 20 pounds.

It didn’t take a victory from La Cañada that day to certify what had already been known about LaCapria – he’s a winner.

As for Scoville, the senior was once one of the area’s brightest racing stars.

During her freshman and sophomore cross-country campaigns, Scoville won back-to-back Rio Hondo League individual titles while leading her Spartans to two team crowns.

In 2015, the youngster captured her school’s first individual division championship since 1998 when she won the CIF Southern Section Division IV title.

Scoville also won a Division III championship in track and field in 2016 in the 3,200-meter run, rallying from last place to take the victory.

Since then the multi-sport athlete, who plays soccer as well, has been hampered by a variety of injuries and illnesses that saw her only participate in a handful of cross-country races and track competitions in 2016-2017.

This summer, however, Scoville seemed back on track before a concussion suffered during club soccer derailed her aspirations again.

A season-plus worth of frustrations fueled Scoville to a fourth-place finish at Wednesday’s Rio Hondo League final at Crescenta Valley Park in a time of 19 minutes, 57.02 seconds.

As she crossed the finish line, Scoville didn’t collapse to the ground like other runners, nor go and cool down.

Nope, the senior ran to the spectator’s section of the course and cheered on her teammates, while eventually offering words of encouragement and pats on the backs of La Cañada’s Kallie Rushing and Madison Pirkey as they crossed the finish line.

“I missed being a teammate,” she said. “I missed running and pushing myself. I still have a long way to go, but I’m moving forward.”

With her body aching and her mind still a little fuzzy from the concussion, Scoville showed there was nothing wrong with her heart.

andrew.campa@latimes.com

Twitter @campadresports

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