McCray makes roster
Former Catawba Indian LJ McCray made the final cut for the 53-man roster of the San Francisco 49ers.
The rookie, who wasn’t drafted, will be a backup safety and is expected to be used as a gunner on special teams.
McCray played extensively in the secondary and on special teams in the 49ers’ final preseason game.
He was in on three tackles on defense and two more on special teams. He made the tackle on one kickoff return after being knocked off his feet. That never-give-up, hustle play might have made the difference for him.
Reports from the San Francisco area papers started that McCray spent the final day expecting the dreaded phone call informing him he’d been cut. That call never came. Veteran teammates advised McCray that no call was very good news.
The Sacramento Bee reported that at a team meeting on Saturday, head coach Jim Harbaugh entered and said, “Whoever is in this room, congratulations, you’ve made the team.”
That’s how McCray learned he would be part of the NFL’s opening day.
McCray has a supporter on the 49ers coaching staff. Former Catawba player and coach Jim Tomsula is the 49ers defensive line coach.
• Despite a strong showing in the preseason, Catawba DB Jumal Rolle was released by the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. Rolle can return to the Packers’ practice squad if he’s not claimed by another team.
The Greensboro Grasshoppers limited Kannapolis to two hits and won 3-1 on Sunday in Kannapolis.
Greensboro broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the sixth inning, including a two-run homer by Brian Anderson.
• Whit Merrifield (Davie, South Carolina) has enjoyed a banner season and is batting .343 in 74 games with Triple-A Omaha, Kansas City’s top farm team.
Merrifield has 40 doubles this season at Omaha and Northwest Arkansas.
Former West Rowan volleyball coach Jordan Raye (Catawba) is now on the staff of Kelly Burdeau (West Rowan, Catawba) at Brevard.
Raye was a 16-time South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week during her career at Catawba.
Catawba’s soccer stadium at E.B. Frock Field on campus is reopening this season with new features that will appeal to fans and players alike.
College officials plan a brief reopening ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 4, before the first home game of the season, when Catawba’s men’s soccer team takes on Lees-McCrae.
The work to the soccer stadium has spanned two summers and involved both the men’s and women’s soccer teams and the support of the local business community.
New bleachers allow an increased seating capacity of 524 and better viewing for fans.
Other improvements include sidewalks that extend from the parking to the spectator seating area and to both team bench areas. New team bench areas have been constructed.
A new, second level press box for sports information to work from during matches is located above the team bench areas. The most notable feature is the new scoreboard, funded by F&M and Cheerwine. This scoreboard has a better field orientation and is in easy line of sight for fans.
New fencing has been installed, and the backstop behind the goals has been relocated. A new windscreen with custom graphics has also been erected. A brick patio area that can display commemorative bricks to honor alumni and friends is another hallmark of the soccer stadium improvements.