TJ Pledger, Brendan Radley-Hiles, Brian Hightower return home with IMG Academy

TJ Pledger (2), who spent his first three years at Chaminade, was part of a SoCal homecoming in IMG Academy’s win over Corona Centennial on Saturday in San Diego.  (Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)
TJ Pledger (2), who spent his first three years at Chaminade, was part of a SoCal homecoming in IMG Academy’s win over Corona Centennial on Saturday in San Diego. (Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

When IMG Academy came to the Honor Bowl on Saturday in San Diego, it was a homecoming for TJ Pledger, Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles and Brian Hightower.

All three transferred from area schools, and with Saturday’s game being their final one in Southern California, they each performed well in IMG’s 40-20 win over Corona Centennial at Cathedral Catholic.

Radley-Hiles, who went to Calabasas, had two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. Hightower, another former Calabasas standout, had seven catches for 41 yards and a touchdown and Pledger, who spent his first three years at Chaminade, had four catches for 45 yards and rushed for 13 more.

“It felt good being back home,” Pledger said. “It’s big that my last home game in California, I got to beat the team that knocked me out of the playoff the last two years.”

Radley-Hiles almost took his first interception back for a touchdown but it was called back due to a penalty. All three had extended family at the game and although the trio talked about what they wanted to do in the game, seeing it play out was special afterward.

“There’s no place like home and everybody balled out,” Radley-Hiles said. “It was a fun experience.”

Oak Park moves on

Oak Park got an unexpected bye week due to its football team finding out Friday morning its game would be cancelled due to extreme heat.

Now as the Eagles prepare for their game this week at El Segundo, it’s back to business, although the players were disappointed to be one of the few teams last week not to play.

“It’s hard when you work all week for it,” Oak Park coach Casey Webb said, “We had practiced in the heat all week and we were ready but we respect the district’s decision.”

Most teams moved their games back to 7:30 or 8 p.m., yet Oak Park was the lone cancellation for Friday. Due to the La Tuna fire, Burroughs had to cancel its game with West Ranch and La Cañada-South Hills was also cancelled.

Webb said the temperatures the team practiced in during the week were similar to the expected temperature — 99 degrees — expected to be around kickoff. Yet when the decision was announced in the morning, the temperature was 115 degrees and administrators decided to cancel the game instead of reschedule it.

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The extended rest, however, could pay off with the team enjoying cooler temperatures for this week.

“I feel bad for the kids but we’ll be ready for El Segundo,” Webb added.

Volleyball watch

Notre Dame and Harvard-Westlake will meet for their annual nonleague girls volleyball match at 6 p.m. Thursday at Harvard-Westlake.

Harvard-Westlake reached the final of the Lakewood tournament before losing to Lakewood. Notre Dame is 3-0 after not dropping a set to West Ranch, Village Christian and El Camino Real.

Also on Thursday, Sierra Canyon travels to La Salle in a battle of teams on the CIF Southern Section Division 3 preseason watch list. Hart also hosts Village Christian.

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About the Author

Evan Barnes

Evan Barnes has covered high school sports in Los Angeles since 2006 for various outlets, including the Daily Breeze and Long Beach Press Telegram. A Los Angeles native who graduated from University of San Diego, Evan has also covered local news and won a National Newspaper Publishers Association award for his story on President Barack Obama's campaign in Los Angeles in 2008. Reach the author at ebarnes@scng.com or follow Evan on Twitter: @evan_b.