PIKEVILLE — On a night offense stole the show, South Johnston senior defensive back Rogelio Morales came up with the play that made the difference.
Morales intercepted a C.B. Aycock pass attempt at the goal line with 5:42 to play to preserve a 39-36 win for South Johnston over Pikeville Aycock.
The Trojans' offense ran out the clock from there and kept alive hopes for a second straight Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference football championship.
South Johnston (6-3, 1-1) and Aycock (3-5, 1-1) traded the lead 10 times, the last coming when Michael Booker hit Chris Crumity on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 9:14 remaining.
Booker was 20-for-30 for 286 yards with three touchdown passes and a team-high 84 yards rushing. He also completed two key third down completions after Morales' interception.
Crumity caught nine of those passes, covering 152 yards, and accounted for two touchdowns.
"Offensively, those guys came to play tonight," South Johnston coach Joe Salas said. "We turned the ball over six times last week and didn't turn it over once tonight. We converted third and fourth downs and just made money plays all night."
Aycock, whose lineup featured North Carolina recruit Jarrod James on the offensive and defensive lines, got a 278-yard passing performance from senior Tyler Farmer. Farmer threw four touchdown passes and ran for another.