Eastern Washington safety Calin Criner looked incredulous Saturday as true freshman running back Silas Perreiah told a group of reporters that he wasn’t offered a scholarship, but a preferred walk-on spot with the Eagles.
The Spokane native’s 126 rushing yards and game-sealing, fourth-quarter touchdown run in EWU’s 35-20 win over North Dakota at Roos Field may have just paid for his next semester of school.
Perreiah, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound power back with speed, has quickly climbed up the Eagles’ depth chart due to an injury-riddled running back group. He initially planned to redshirt.
On Saturday, he appeared to be the team’s clear-cut No. 2 running back behind four-year mainstay Antoine Custer, who had 134 yards and three touchdowns against UND.
Not bad for a player months removed from his days at little Northwest Christian School, where he was a force in the Washington 2B ranks all four years.
A year ago Saturday, Perreiah racked up 455 rushing yards in a high school game in Oroville, population 1,600. He totaled 5,602 rushing yards and 72 rushing touchdowns in his virtuoso high school career.
Now he’s already eclipsing the century mark against Division I teams.
“It’s weird, but at the end of the day it’s still football,” Perreiah said. “It’s definitely different than playing against Reardan or Davenport and other small schools. It’s good.”
EWU and Idaho were the only Division I school to show him interest, Perreiah said.
“It’s been a big jump, but I’m surrounded by a great offensive line and coaching staff,” he said.
EWU head coach Aaron Best isn’t surprised by the 18-year-old ballcarrier’s swift emergence.
“He looks about 34 years old, so physically he’s there,” Best joked. “He’s a lead-by-example kind of guy.
“It’s fun to find those gems and those surprises. He looked like the No. 2 back today.”
Criner made a similar sentiment.
“If you can ball, you can ball, and this guy can ball,” Criner said of Perreiah.
Moore, Sendelbach return
After sitting out the first four games of the season due to a gunshot wound in the chest, defensive tackle Keith Moore returned to EWU’s defensive line.
Moore started at nose tackle, totaling four tackles, two tackles for a loss and pivotal strip sack in the fourth quarter.
He suffered a gunshot wound in downtown Spokane in July.
EWU linebacker Jack Sendelbach had a team-high 12 tackles and a sack after sitting out last week with an apparent hand injury.
The previous time Sendelbach faced UND in 2017, he totaled 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.
The Eagles were still without key linebackers Chris Ojoh and Jusstis Warren due to injury.
EWU played the 1,000th game in program history, dating back to 1901. The Eagles have 555 wins, 422 losses and 23 ties.
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