MOULTRIE -- On Friday night, as the buses bringing the Colquitt County High football team, band and cheerleaders were pulling into Moultrie after the trip Douglas for the Packers 24-10 victory over Coffee High, Ron Hunter was busy at work in the studio behind his Riverwood home.
While the players and coaches, weary but exhilarated from the first Region 1-AAAAA victory of the season, were finding their way home, Hunter was making copies of the game tape shot by Lance Elkins. He also was beginning preparations for the following week's Packer Report television show, which must be ready for Tuesday's broadcast.
Hunter's Friday nights always bleed into Saturday morning's wee hours as he prepares 12 copies of the game tape. If the Friday night game was at home and technology cooperated, he might walk across his yard and make his way to bed by 2 a.m. or so.
After road games, or if he runs into complications, it could be 4 or 4:30 a.m. The tapes of the previous night's games have to be ready early Saturday for a Colquitt County coach to pick up for swapping with the next week's opponent.
And there is more work ahead as he prepares to tape Packers head coach Tim Cokely on Monday morning for the Packer Report, add sideline features from reporter Della Tatum and get the copies to Thomasville and Cordele for Tuesday night broadcast.
"It's a technical challenge," says Hunter, who has been duplicating game tapes for Colquitt County High since 1997 and producing The Packer Report since 2000.
Self-employed as the sole proprietor of Hunter Video Productions, Hunter estimates he also puts in about 15 additional hours getting tapes ready and preparing The Packer Report.
But he doesn't seem to mind.
"I don't do it strictly to make money," Hunter says. "I love it. I love the community, love the children."
Hunter was back in his old stomping grounds last Friday.
The Coffee High graduate joking pointed to a road behind Jardine Stadium where, he says, he used to drag-race as a teen-ager.
But he has long lived in Colquitt County where his wife Ann has taught business education at Moultrie High and Colquitt County High since 1973.
His two sons, Jeffrey and Patrick, were fine kickers for the Colquitt County High football teams and were outstanding soccer players as well.
Daughter Julie, who graduated from Colquitt County High last spring and has joined Patrick as a student at Valdosta State, played for the Lady Packers soccer team.
Ron Hunter began dabbling in video production in 1990 and in 1997 started his own business. In 1994, he approached then-coach Jim Hughes about a weekly television program during football season.
Hughes was receptive to the idea, but insisted it not be called "The Jim Hughes Show," wanting the focus to be on the student/athletes.
But the show never came to fruition until Mike Singletary succeeded Hughes in 2000. Singletary agreed, but wanted the show to focus on athletics year-round.
The Packer Report kicked off in 2000 and for the first three years was on throughout the school year.
Elkins, who had been doing the filming of the Packers football games for several years, provided the game tape. He had been hired by Hughes for the job several years earlier.
A photographer and videographer living in Thomasville, Elkins had been a defensive back on Hughes' first Thomasville High football team in 1970. He also has shot team team photographs and the covers for the Colquitt County High football program for a number of years.
Hunter said The Packer Report would not be possible without Elkins' contributions.
"It would be nearly impossible if I had to tape the game," Hunter said. "I depend heavily on his camera work. And he does an excellent job. He is rock-solid."
By using the game tapes shot for the high school football team, Hunter is able to shoot on the sidelines during the game and add that to Elkins' footage.
Hunter, who prefers remaining behind the camera, also shoots pre-game features, with Tatum conducting the interviews.
Tatum, who is in her fourth season of working with Hunter, has become a popular member of The Packer Report team, interviewing a wide variety of people, including the opposing coach.
The Packer Report has featured the band, the cheerleaders, the Packer Booster Club and the Colquitt County Sports Hall of Fame. Hunter said he always looks forward to highlighting the annual Homecoming festivities as well.
Hunter also credits Glenn Jackson with helping with the pre-broadcast review.
The last three years, other commitments have forced Hunter to produce The Packer Report only during football season.
For the first five years of the show, Hunter would take his camera on Monday mornings to Colquitt County High School, where he would tape an interview with Singletary, who would then do the commentary over the tape of the previous week's game.
The late Lewis Hill served as the show's host the first two years and also did most of the features. Dick Aliano served as the show's host for one season and Hiram Griffin did it the last two.
The Monday morning taping has moved this year to the studio behind Hunter's home, and Moultrie Observer Sports Editor Wayne Grandy has taken over as host, interviewing Packers coach Tim Cokely and helping provide game commentary.
"I really enjoy working with Coach Cokely," says Hunter. "He makes my job easy."
The Packer Report was broadcast on Mediacom on the Library Channel for its first five seasons. This year, it has moved to Cordele's WSST, and is shown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday on Mediacom's cable channel 10.
Because of the station's Sunbelt Ag Expo's coverage, this week The Packer Report will air at midnight on Tuesday and again at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The move to WSST enables The Packer Report to be shown in 60 cities in Southwest Georgia.
And for the last three years, The Packer Report also has been carried by CNS on cable channel 6 in Moultrie and is aired at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. In the Doerun, the program is shown on cable channel 24.
Hunter says the Packer Report has a number of sponsors, including several who have been with him all six years. They, too, share a belief in shining a spotlight on the achievements of Colquitt County student-athletes and the school's athletic programs, Hunter says.
The program is strong and while it's time-consuming, Hunter said he hopes to be able to continue producing it and helping those who otherwise could not attend the game have a chance to watch the Packers.
"We're just a complement to the excellent radio and newspaper coverage we've always had here," Hunter says. "I just like doing it."