When the spotlight is the brightest, Bubba Frank plays his best.
The Prosser senior running back and linebacker has been solid throughout the season, but especially so in the Mustangs' biggest games of the year.
From the season-opening victory against Kamiakin, to hammering Pullman in the regional playoffs, to game-changing plays in the quarterfinal victory against Othello, Frank has been a star for Prosser this season.
“Everybody is (excited in those games),” he said. “You have to step your level up in those big moments. That is what I try to do.”
Prosser hopes Frank will have another big showing today, as the Mustangs face Tumwater at 5 p.m. at Kennewick's Lampson Stadium in the Class 2A semifinals.
Earlier this season, in the overtime victory against Kamiakin, he had a receiving touchdown and a rushing touchdown, combining for more than 100 yards rushing and receiving.
Against Pullman two weeks ago, he had two touchdown runs and an interception return for a score — the first defensive touchdown of his career.
And in the Othello game, he converted a huge fourth-down play on a fake punt and added a touchdown run.
“He is one of those guys that makes special things happen,” Prosser coach Benji Sonnichsen said. “I think of the word grit. He just has that grit. You think you are going to stop him, and you're not.
“That's kind of what happened with the punt. It's a designed play for him to throw it, and he ends up taking off and breaks four or five tackles and won't go down.”
Frank was a fullback for Prosser in 2011, and was in the rotation at linebacker but didn't play a tremendous amount.
He decided to cut weight in the offseason to give himself a better chance at being a starter, and it worked.
“I worked really hard because I knew I needed to get faster,” he said. “I was at 220 and now I'm at 198. I'm way faster than I was last year.”
Sonnichsen said the difference is noticeable, not only for Frank but also in the Prosser offense.
“He's real fast, explosive,” Sonnichsen said. “When I talk to guys I tell them that we've had that scat back like Ian Johnson at Boise State, and he is our Doug Martin. That explosive power.”
Frank went over the 1,000-yard mark in last week's victory against Othello, giving the Prosser offense a needed balance to the high-power aerial assault led by quarterback Ryan Fassler and receivers Danny Raap and Sterling Clarke.
“When my name has been called, I have to step up when I can and work hard every single play,” Frank said. “This year, I've finally had my chances.”
And now Frank and his teammates have a chance to get to the state title game for the first time since 2008.
The Mustangs are hoping to avoid another poor performance in the semifinals like in last year's 50-14 loss to Archbishop Murphy.
“We came out really hesitant last year,” Frank said. “We have to come out aggressive and not be tentative and go full speed.”