Former Tampa Bay assistant Ron Selesky, now coaching Buffalo, takes a beating as the Storm jumps ahead early in a 52-27 win.
By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 9, 2003
TAMPA -- The Storm played as well as Ron Selesky had hoped. He just hadn't figured on having to coach against them.
As Tampa Bay's director of player personnel in the offseason, Selesky helped bring players such as Clif Dell, BJ Cohen, Kelvin Kinney and Gary Compton to the Storm.
On Saturday the first-year Buffalo coach had the misfortune of facing the team he helped assemble. Selesky's acquisitions, Kinney and Cohen in particular, came back to haunt him as the Storm overwhelmed the Destroyers 52-27 before an announced 15,848 at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"I just can't say enough about Kelvin Kinney," Storm coach Tim Marcum said. "He just makes plays. He and BJ Cohen, those guys were excellent additions."
The win, in Marcum's 200th game, was the third straight for the Storm (4-2) and moved it within 11/2 games of Orlando (5-0) in the Southern Division. The Predators host Indiana on Monday.
Tampa Bay, which plays three of its next four at home, including next Sunday against Orlando, is 3-0 at the Times Forum.
"It's going to mean a lot for us to get Orlando in here," Storm quarterback John Kaleo said. "Maybe (injured Predators quarterback) Jay (Gruden) will play, maybe he won't. We felt we beat them physically and even on the scoreboard up there (in a 54-51 loss at Orlando on Feb. 9). We just got things taken away from us."
Selesky got his coaching start under Marcum in 1997 and served as Tampa Bay's director of player personnel for a month in the offseason before being named coach in Buffalo (4-2). Saturday night he might have wished he'd stayed.
Kaleo threw three of his five touchdown passes, including two to Lawrence Samuels, and the Tampa Bay defense stopped three Buffalo drives as the Storm eased to a 39-6 first-half lead.
On Tampa Bay's second offensive play, Kaleo faked a pitch to fullback David White and threw a screen to Samuels, who weaved 32 yards down the left side to give the Storm a 7-0 lead 1:18 into the game.
Tampa Bay again needed two plays to score on its second possession. Kaleo found Freddie Solomon in the back right corner of the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown.
The Storm turned things over to its defense and special teams in the second quarter.
Ian Howfield's 20-yard field goal on the first play of the period got things started. Before the quarter was over Kinney sacked Jeff Loots for a safety, Solomon returned a kickoff 55 yards for a touchdown and Cohen returned an interception 13 yards for another score.
Juan Long's 10-yard run with 4:14 remaining in the quarter was Buffalo's first touchdown since early in the second quarter of last week's 40-13 loss to Chicago.
The Destroyers closed to 39-13 on Anthony Hicks' 1-yard run at the start of the third, but a Tampa Bay stop on Buffalo's next possession gave the Storm the ball at the Destroyers 10-yard line.
Four plays later Kaleo hit Alvin Ashley on a 2-yard slant for the 300th touchdown of the quarterback's career. Kaleo added his 301st in the fourth, connecting with Samuels on a 15-yard play.
"That just means I've been around for a long time," Kaleo said, laughing. "That's all that means."
Kaleo was 22-of-34 for 223 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. Samuels had team highs of eight receptions for 97 yards and three scores.