In a showdown between two Ohio State verbal commitments who hail from Toledo, the four-star cornerback from Rogers was forced to watch from the sidelines after suffering a left knee injury during the team's second game of the season.
So those on hand expecting to see two future Buckeyes suited up were forced to concentrate solely on the defensive lineman from Whitmer, but afterward he told BuckeyeSports.com that he was looking on the bright side.
"I was actually ready to play against him but when I heard that he wasn't playing because of his knee I said, ‘That's all right. I'll be his teammate next year,' " Hayes said.
The 6-2, 180-pound Gambrell sported a wrap on his left knee after suffering an injury Sept. 4 during a road loss against Sylvania (Ohio) Southview.
"It's my meniscus," he said. "I have a slight tear. I've got to go to therapy for two weeks and then I should be back for our homecoming game. I had slammed it real hard into the ground versus Southview. I still played on that drive and that probably made it a little worse."
The Rams (1-3) have the weekend of Sept. 25 off before returning to action the following week. Gambrell's projected return game is Oct. 15. It marks the first time he has ever missed action due to injury, he said.
"It's very hard because I feel like I could get back on the field," Gambrell said. "It's hard that I have to sit out and just trust my family to get the win. I know I could help if I was on the field though."
From the sideline, Gambrell said he tries to "keep the sidelines hyped, keep the team organized and try to give them the boost in the head that we still can do it."
On the other side of the field, the 6-5, 255-pound Hayes recorded three tackles including one for a 3-yard loss and deflected one pass during his team's 35-12 victory. He said his team had prepared as if Gambrell was going to play.
The two embraced after the game and are planning to ride together to watch the Buckeyes host Eastern Michigan on Sept. 25. Both said they speak with OSU running backs coach Dick Tressel on a weekly basis.
Hayes said the Buckeyes have clarified where they plan to use him next season.
"All I know of right now is they're saying I'm going to be a D-end like Cameron Heyward," he said. "They were talking about me playing outside linebacker."
Asked if he is happy with his play this season, Hayes said no.
"You can't be happy with what you're doing now," he said. "You have to get better and better every week. I want to improve on my speed and my hand techniques so I can get my sacks and tackles."
With "OSU" shaved into the left side of his head, Hayes was sporting his latest team-themed haircut. It might also be his last, however.
"I'm trying to think of some more ideas but I might just cut it all off and get a shorter haircut because I can't think of any more haircuts," he said with a laugh.
On the other side of the Whitmer defensive line stands Chris Wormley, a 2012 prospect. The 6-5, 250-pound Wormley recorded three tackles – all sacks – for a combined loss of 36 yards against the Rams.
Throughout the game, both Hayes and Wormley were subjected to double teams as Rogers attempted to push the duo out of the play and run the ball up the middle. It is a tactic Hayes said he is growing accustomed to encountering.
"Teams will long-arm us when they try to trap us or the receivers try to come and crack us," he said. "We're getting used to it. They were trying to double team us and keep us inside so we couldn't keep outside contain but we pretty much dominated that."
Meanwhile, Gambrell could only look on and wish he was on the field.
"I've never sat out a game before, so it's killing me," he said. "It's just heartbreaking. I don't like missing football games. I've just got to get over it."