There are few gridirons in North Florida as historic as Corry Field. For nearly 100 years, football teams in Gadsden County have called Corry Field “home.” It is perhaps the oldest continuously-used football field in Gadsden County, and its past should be remembered by the community.
Corry Field has been used by three local varsity football teams. The old Quincy/Gadsden County High School was the first to host games at Corry Field. Nicknamed the Tigers, this team experienced considerable success in the 1930s. They were undefeated in the 1934 and 1935 seasons and had intense rivalry games between Monticello, Marianna, and Leon in Tallahassee that attracted hundreds to their games.
Corry Field was officially dedicated in 1938 during a four-day festival celebrating shade tobacco, which included circus acts and a flyover of United States Navy planes from the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Corry Field is named after William Merrill Corry, Jr., a native of Quincy and a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1920 for attempting to rescue his copilot from their plane’s wreckage during an exhibition flight in Hartford, Connecticut. Corry died of burns in this heroic act. One hundred years later, his name lives on through this field, and his remains are still at rest in Quincy’s Eastern Cemetery
In its early years, the football field was actually orientated in a north-south configuration. The sidelines of the field was parallel to Graves Street until 1957, when the field was changed to its present orientation. A press box, sprinkler system, and lights were installed, and new bleacher seats were added bringing Corry Field’s capacity to 3,600. For over thirty years, Gadsden County high hosted numerous opponents at Corry Field.
When integration of Gadsden County schools started in 1970, Corry Field became home to James A. Shanks High School, also nicknamed the Tigers. In Shanks’ first year as an integrated varsity football team in 1970, Shanks made it all the way to the state championship, seeing more success than any other Quincy-based high school football team. Back then, state finals were held at the home field of a finalist, so Corry Field was the location for Shanks’ only state title appearance when they hosted the Bishop Moore Hornets for the 1970 FHSAA Class A Football Championship. Approximately 2,925 spectators attended, but unfortunately, this game did not end in Shanks’ favor. Bishop Moore won this Class A Championship at Corry Field, 21-12.
For another thirty years, Corry Field was the home field for Shanks, and in these decades, it was the stage for some of the best football talent to ever be exhibited in Gadsden County. NFL players like Curtis Green and Dexter Jackson started their careers there, along with dozens of former and current college football players. Corry Field was where district championships and playoff runs happened, and it was respected by both locals and visitors for its electric environment on Friday nights. The last playoff game at Corry Field occurred in 1998, when Shanks defeated Suwannee, 42-7. Shanks played their home games at Corry until 2002, its final year as a high school. When East Gadsden High School opened the following year, they moved their home games to the field near its campus.
But the third high school keeps play alive at Corry Field. Robert F. Munroe Day School has called it home since 1984. Unlike the immediate success of Shanks in 1970, it took Munroe nearly a decade to win a game there. However, Munroe went undefeated in 2020 and has made it to the playoffs two seasons. Corry Field continues to be a great place to play football.
All this history goes to show that it is important for Gadsden County to appreciate Corry Field for what it is: the venue of play for generations of community-supported football in Quincy. It still continues to be a place that shapes athletes and makes stars today. Considering its age, perhaps Corry Field could be recognized as a historic site in the county. Its long past should be remembered and valued by Gadsden County for years to come.