And, it didn't take long for the Ohio State University recruit to take a bite out of the host Indians on their homecoming night in a 36-6 City League victory for the Rams.
The first time Gambrell touched the ball, he motored around right end and bolted 80 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 lead for Rogers (3-3, 2-1 CL).
This was the next play after the Rams' Antwon Dupree had ended a promising Waite drive by intercepting a Michael Kachmarik pass in the end zone.
“It was hard not helping my team, seeing them taking losses and watching from the sideline,” Gambrell said of his time away. “We had been planning [that play] all week.
PHOTO GALLERY: HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Rogers vs. Waite High School Oct. 8, 2010
JETTA FRASER / TOLEDO BLADE Enlarge
“Coach [Rick] Rios told me he was going to get me back in action real quick, and the first play I took it 80 yards. I got good blocking on the perimeter, hit the sideline, and turned on the speed. I loved it. I couldn't wait to celebrate with my teammates.”
Gambrell had missed Rogers' previous four games after sustaining a knee injury in the Rams' 21-0 road loss to Southview on Sept. 4.
“We scripted it,” Rios said, “and we let him know, ‘Hey, you've got the ball first. We want to see how that knee is feeling.'
“He said it felt pretty good, so I said, ‘Well, then we should be lining up for an extra point because it should be a touchdown,' and sure enough that's how it happened.”
For good measure, the second time Gambrell touched the ball also turned into a touchdown, this one on an eight-yard run up the middle 1:27 into the second quarter as Rogers grabbed a 14-0 lead.
Gambrell, who did not play any defense against Waite, ended with four carries for 90 yards.
“We weren't sure how many reps we were going to be able to get him. The knee seems to be good and it's holding up well, but he's not anywhere near [full] playing condition.” Rios said.
As for Waite (2-5, 2-2), the first half was about opportunities lost to turnovers. The Indians' starting quarterback, Johnny Douanglee was also intercepted, and lost a fumble.
Dounaglee did, however, produce much of Waite's offense, including a 41-yard TD run around left end 9:20 before halftime. He carried seven times in the first half for 74 of the Indians' 124 total yards. Waite, had minus-3 yards in the second half.
“That's part of developing young kids, and trying to change [to a] winning attitude,” Waite coach Gardner Howard said. “You've got to capitalize on those opportunities, and we didn't do it.
“We took the opening drive down to the 1, and then we throw a pick. And then, on their first play, they go 80 yards.”
Rogers didn't manage much in the third quarter, offensively, until late in the period when quarterback Marquise Snider (6-of-12 passing, 144 yards) found Glandoy Hill wide open down the right side for a 33-yard score with 1:08 left.
The Rams added two TDs in the fourth quarter.
The first was an 82-yard catch-and-run score by speedy wideout Damond Powell, who snared Snider's pass near the line of scrimmage, then zigged and zagged his way goalward.
The final Rogers score came on Gary Johnson's 13-yard run with9:04 remaining in the game.
The Rams topped Waite 382-121 in total offense.
“We were fighting and hanging in there in the first half,” Howard said. “In the second half, we just couldn't figure it out and couldn't quite get it done.”
“It was a nice welcome back,” Gambrell said. “When I first went to the doctor they were telling me it might be season-ending injury. But I kept going back to therapy, and every once in a while I worked on my own. Then the doctor cleared me. It's in good condition and I'm very glad to be back and to get a victory.”