Rehm, Mannion lead Rowan in wild opening night win

Matt Leon
August 31, 2018 - 11:40 am
Senior running back John Mannion rushed for a game-high 177 yards on Thursday night in Rowan's 41-34 2-OT win at Widener.

Rowan University Athletics


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — "You only get one chance to make a first impression" is how the old saying goes. It is a phrase that Rowan junior wide receiver Elijah Rehm obviously took to heart on Thursday night.

Making his debut with the Division III Profs, Rehm returned not one but two kickoffs for touchdowns, helping Rowan to a wild 41-34 double-overtime win at Widener.

"I was just seeing great blocks by my phenomenal teammates," Rehm said after the game. "I'd catch the ball, and it's pretty easy when you see a wide open hole with blocks there and open field. It's just easy to take it when they block like that."

A transfer from East Stroudsburg, Rehm scored Rowan's first touchdown in the first quarter on an 83-yard kickoff return. His second return went for 100 yards and came late in the fourth quarter. It tied the game at 31. In addition to the two returns that hit pay dirt, Rehm had another that went for 71 yards. The Clayton High School product says the Profs thought they had a chance for special teams success in this one.

"Absolutely," he says. "(Rowan Special Teams Coordinator Cedric Dawkins) does a phenomenal job game planning each week. Obviously, week one we had a little bit of extra time to game plan on them. He writes it up on the film, he shows us where the holes will be and shows us how to block it and you just hit it and go."

Rehm was not the only Prof to have a big day. Running backs John Mannion and Messiah Divine both ran for more than 100 yards. Divine, a sophomore, had 100 yards on ten carries including an 80-yard touchdown. Mannion, a senior, battered the Pride with 177 yards on 24 attempts. In addition, another running back, senior Anthony Diorio scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in the second overtime on a four-yard run.

"We knew it would take all three of us to get things going on offense," Mannion says. "We know we have three good running backs in Messiah, Ant and me. So we know we can all take our own turn and move the ball down the field and keep our legs fresh."

Rowan finished with 328 yards rushing in the win.

Next up for the Profs will be a road game against Southern Virginia University on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.