Dane Livengood used to wear gray, knee-high wool socks to all his football games.
The practice was part superstition, part fashion statement. His mother, Heather Livengood, liked how easy it made him to find on the crowded gridiron.
Now a senior, the Treynor standout blends in just a little more. With coach Steve Owens asking for a more unified team look, Livengood’s signature appearance is a thing of the past.
“Coach put an end to that one,” Livengood joked. “He really shut down my dreams.”
It marks one of the few times this fall that the do-everything player has been stifled. He carried the ball a career-high 52 times for 309 yards and three touchdowns last week in the Cardinals’ 23-20 win at Red Oak. He also netted 12 tackles from his hybrid linebacker-safety spot.
Through two weeks, it’s not a stretch to say Treynor’s running back may be the busiest in the state, regardless of class. Only Sioux Central’s Devin Tripp, with 85 rush attempts, has more than Livengood (80). Yet unlike Tripp, Livengood is also part of a passing attack (five catches to none) and often lines up to receive punts and kickoffs.
Owens said the coaching staff didn’t realize the extent of Livengood’s workload against Red Oak until after the final horn. Treynor’s main power running play, “Steeler,” had been effective all night. In a tight contest, they stuck with it.
“We know we can’t let him keep (rushing so much) because his body just can’t take it,” Owens said. “We’ve already made some adjustments in personnel and stuff to alleviate that. We don’t want him to touch the ball that many times. If we’re in the 30s, we’re probably OK.”
Livengood said he actually felt better following that game than the season-opening loss to Underwood, when he ran 28 times for 105 yards. For someone whose dream is to attend and play football for the Naval Academy — and eventually become a Navy SEAL — going all out every snap on a Friday night isn’t so daunting.
“You just can’t think that you’re tired,” said Livengood, a Class 1-A all-state third-team offense honoree last year. “If you start thinking you’re tired, you’re going to start dogging it. If you just go hard all the time, you don’t feel it until afterwards.”
Not that the 160-pounder would let up anyway. Coaches took him out late against Underwood because he was diving over the line trying to create a fumble while the Eagles were taking a knee.
The intensity isn’t just for football. In addition to doing track and wrestling, Livengood participates in musicals and is a longtime member of the school’s speech and dance teams. He hasn’t met a Harry Potter book or camping adventure he doesn’t like.
“He’s a kid that’s going to sell out,” Owens said. “He sacrifices his body all the time — he’s been doing that since junior high. He’s the guy that dives in the pond or jumps off the rope. His nature is (to say), ‘I’m going to go for it.’ ”
But Livengood is quick to remind that he doesn’t do it alone. Treynor linemen like Brody Hanson, Trey Snyder, Jakob Honig and Michael Godfrey, among others, make it possible for him to find openings and dart up the football field.
Owens said the senior might be more important defensively. He’s second on the team with 21 tackles thanks to his ability to cover lots of ground quickly and clean up plays.
About the only thing Livengood doesn’t want to do is take a break. That goes for football and life in general.
“I don’t feel like I’ve been running that much,” Livengood said, “because when you have everything working for you, the game flows and you don’t think about it.”