By Matt Jenkins
---- — PEABODY — The numbers Bobby Tarr posted during his high school football career at Bishop Fenwick bordered on unbelievable: 593 carries, 5,601 yards and 69 touchdowns.
Last night at Donaldson Field, Tarr’s place in Fenwick athletic history was symbolically cemented by a single digit. Tarr’s No. 3 was officially retired at halftime of the Crusaders’ game against Austin Prep.
“I found out they were going to retire my number I think it was at the banquet my senior year of high school, but then I found out it was going to be (official) about a month ago,” Tarr, a 2008 Bishop Fenwick graduate, said before last night’s game. “I was excited and honored. I’m happy and proud of it.”
By the time Tarr graduated from Fenwick he was third on the Massachusetts list of all-time rushers, behind only Holyoke’s Cedric Washington (6,688 yards) and Dartmouth’s Jordan Todman (5,779). He was also eighth all-time in scoring with 432 points.
Tarr joins some elite company at Fenwick. The only other athletes to have their numbers retired at Fenwick are boys basketball players Sean Connolly and Casey Arena, who each scored over 2,000 points during their careers, girls basketball stars Gina Marcinkowski and Cheryl Murtagh, and hockey player John Hanlon.
Dave Woods had been waiting for the right time to officially raise Tarr’s number in the Fenwick gymnasium.
“When he graduated we had two of his jerseys framed. We gave him one and kept one,” Woods, the Crusaders’ coach, said. “We had it in storage and figured it was time to put it on the wall in the gym.”
His high school production was out of this world, but Tarr never considered receiving such an honor from Fenwick while he was playing.
“I had known they had Connolly’s jersey and stuff like that, but I never really thought about it personally,” Tarr said. “My underclassmen years I was really focused on getting better. My ultimate goal was to the make the playoffs and win a championship, and I really wanted to play college football.”
After high school, Tarr attended Bentley University and battled injuries and health issues early in his college career before becoming a productive running back. For his career, Tarr totaled 372 carries for 2,091 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a junior he gained 860 yards and scored five touchdowns.
Last year Tarr received the 2012 Nason Award for Senior Achievement from the New England Football Writers. The award is given to a senior who has overcome adversity to shine on the football field.
Tarr seemed to be just as excited to see this year’s Crusaders play a critical Catholic Central League game against Austin Prep as he was to get his number retired. He was also interested in watching junior running back Rufus Rushins, whose stats might some day rival Tarr’s.
Rushins came into last night’s game with 3,040 yards rushing and 39 TDs in just two-and-a-half years.
“I saw him freshman year and I’m excited to see him now,” Tarr said about Rushins. “I looked it up, he’s 220 pounds; that’s a big boy to be carrying the rock.”
The 24-year-old Tarr graduated from Bentley last winter, now lives in Watertown and works for BNY Mellon, a banking and financial services corporation.
Last night’s ceremony had him wondering where the time has gone.
“Now that I’m out of college, time is flying by,” Tarr said. “I don’t know where it went.”
Bobby Tarr at Fenwick Year Att. Yards TDs Pts. 2005 78 542 6.9 4 30 2006 259 2,514 9.7 34 210 2007 256 2,545 9.9 31 192 Totals 593 5,601 9.4 69 432